Monday, August 13, 2007

Rule of 50 - once again

My friend Andrea told me that our "famous" librarian, Nancy Pearl, spoke about summer reading books on NPR this morning. Apparently she shocked the interviewer by mentioning that for every book she recommends, she delves into and gives up on at least 12 others. What a revelation. Now, rather than feel guilty, I fancy myself a more discerning reader!

After I listened to Pearl's interview I took Kim Edwards' The Memory Keeper's Daughter, which I've been struggling with for weeks, right up to the check-in desk. The plot does have an interesting premise; mom delivers not one but two babies and the physician, her husband, takes it upon himself to send away the second child, a girl born with Down Syndrome. This could happen because the action takes place back in the early '60's when women were still well sedated during childbirth. We used to call this "the Joan Rivers school of childbirth;" wake me when it's over and my makeup and hair are done!

The nurse, to whom the disposition of the second child is assigned, cannot bring herself to leave the little girl in a home for the disabled in another city. Instead, she takes the little girl to raise on her own until the doctor, about whom she has a higher opinion than I did, comes to his senses and reclaims his daughter.

The writer's prose, I'm sorry to say, is just too simplistic to keep this story moving forward. One would guess, even if one didn't already know, that this must be a first effort. Yet I had to give it a go as the darn book has been on best-seller lists for ages and is still being discussed among book clubs all over the country. I'd still like to know the denouement - you've got to figure that the siblings will meet somewhere down the road and the decades of lies their parents have told them will blow up in their faces. I just didn't have the patience to get there.


prepossessing said...

I had some problems getting through The Memory Keeper's Daughter as well. The first two times, I gave up. The third time I finished it. You're right it was predictable.

I love to read. I often read an entire book in a day. Some books just grab your attention in the beginning. With others, it takes a while.

You never know what book is going to resonate. I try to finish them all, but sometimes I wish I had just moved on to the next...

I like your blog. I will probably try some of the books that you are reviewing.


Sallyb said...

Welcome Laura,
I'm so excited that you found my blog. You're the first poster who doesn't already know me. I can't imagine how you found me but I'm really pleased.
I followed the link to your blog and am enjoying it too. My tennis partner has planter's fasciitis also and has been down all summer. I understand that it is extremely painful.
By the way, The Glass Castle was written by Jeannette Walls. I noticed that one of your posters mentioned it and I think it would likely make a great discussion book. I heard the author speak at the annual library convention in DC and she was dynamite.