Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The Memory Keeper's Daughter

I have a REALLY long list of books on my "to read" list. Some of them are Christian life books, others light reading, historical fact, historical fiction, or basic novels. I really wish I could spend more time getting lost in my books. I love to read!!

Anywho, I just got done reading this book The Memory Keeper's Daughter. If you get a chance to read it, I suggest it. It's a great book. Not very climactic in one sense but a great storyline. It definitely draws you in with lots of emotion. It's easy to read and overall a good book.

The story starts out with a doctor who delivers his twins in a blizzard. The first born is a healthy baby boy, the second is a baby girl who has the obvious signs of Down Syndrome. The book starts in the 1960's. In that day and age it was common practice to put the babies with any genetic defects in institutions, especially Down Syndrome. Little was known about the disease back then and the "perfect family" image was definitely a huge part of society. He gives the baby girl to the nurse and tells her to take the baby girl to an institution, meanwhile telling his wife that the baby girl died at birth. The nurse takes her to an institution but upon seeing the conditions of the place, she runs away and raises the girl as her own daughter. All this can be read on the back jacket so I'm not ruining a single thing.

Like I said, fascinating book. This last weekend, as I mentioned before, Scott and I stopped in Kingman, Arizona on the 4th to spend it with his Uncle Pete, Aunt Bonnie and his cousin Jeff who has Down Syndrome. Jeff is somewhere in his 40's or 50's. This puts the time Jeff was born around the same time period that the story takes place. Pete and Bonnie raised Jeff and never sent him away. I know not everyone did this, but it was fascinating to be reading this story at the same time as realizing that we were spending time with a family who had gone through the same thing!!

Some time in the future I would love to sit down with Bonnie and talk to her about this experience. It won't happen for a long time if ever but especially with that book it's just absolutely fascinating to find out a personal experience of someone who is practically family. It's not every day that you get to read a story that hits so close to home.

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