The Memory Keeper's Daughter

Kim Edwards


A Few Summaries

Helpful websites

Comprehension Questions for The Memory Keeper's Daughter

A few summaries...

(The back cover)

This stunning novel begins on a winter night in 1964, when blizzard forces Dr. David Henry to deliver his own twins. His son, born first, is perfectly healthy, but the doctor immediately recognizes that his daughter has Down syndrome. For motives he tells himself are good, he makes a split-second decision that will haunt all their lives forever. He asks his nurse, Caroline, to take the baby away to an institution. Instead, she disappears into another city to raise the child as her own. Compulsively readable and deeply moving, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter is a brilliantly crafted story of parallel lives, familial secrets, and the redemptive power of love.

From Booklist Publications

David Henry's life was turning out as he hoped. He was a doctor, married to a beautiful woman, Nora, with a baby on the way. But everything changed overnight because of one fateful decision. On a winter evening in 1964, a blizzard brewing, Nora goes into labor. Due to the weather, they could only make it to the clinic, not the hospital, and only Caroline, the nurse, arrived to help deliver the baby. David delivers his own child, a perfectly healthy son. But when Nora continues her labor, David realizes she is carrying twins; and the second child, a girl, is born with Down syndrome. Wanting to protect his wife from the devastating news, David gives the child to Caroline to take to an institution, asking her never to reveal the secret. Caroline takes the baby and disappears. Unfolding the plot over the course of 25 years, Edwards tells a moving story of two families bound by a secret that both eats away at relationships and eventually helps to create new ones. -Carolyn Kubisz

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Curious About David's Photography?

Here's a link to a website that displays pictures that are similar in idea to the work that David does with photography. It was the only site that I could find that didn't include pictures that were a bit too sexual in their content. Enjoy the photos!


Curious about The Juilliard School, the performing arts college that Paul is desperate to attend?

Follow this link to The Juilliard School virtual tour and website. It's a very interesting place, and looking at the virtual tour made me wish that I was younger and had an amazing musical talent:


Some helpful websites

Visit The Memory Keeper's Daughter website at

Visit the (USA) website for The Memory Keeper's Daughter at


The Memory Keeper's Daughter Comprehension Questions

The Memory Keeper's Daughter Questions 1, pp. 1-122

The Memory Keeper's Daughter Questions 2, pp. 125-237

The Memory Keeper's Daughter Questions 3, pp. 241-306

The Memory Keeper's Daughter Questions 4, pp. 309-401

Audio Files for The Memory Keeper's Daughter

Here' are 2 stories from National Public Radio (NPR) about Pittsburgh, PA.

Pittsburgh, An International Background For G-20 Summit

August 15, 2009 (Weekend Edition Saturday)

Follow this link to a typed transcript of the story. Transcript: Pittsburgh 1



Here's the 2nd story about Pittsburgh

Summit Spotlights 'Steel City's' Extreme Makeover

Pittsburgh has transformed its economy over the past two decades. Now the city hopes to use the attention provided by the G-20 summit to transform its image.

The glow from the steel mills that once churned along the city's riverbanks faded in the early '80s. It took decades for Pittsburgh to forge a new identity.

"Steel defined Pittsburgh for a century," said Chris Briem, a regional economist with the University of Pittsburgh's Center for Social and Urban Research. "In this world where everything's more mobile — investment, talent, skills and workers — and all these things are not tied to a geography the way steel was here, regions are going to be competing in very different ways."

For Pittsburgh, the comeback has been fueled by investments in health care, education and clean energy — industries the Obama administration wants to highlight. The city's convention center, where much of the summit is taking place, has been hailed for its environmental design.

Earlier this week, Heinz Field, home of the Pittsburgh Steelers, hosted a technology conference. Google CEO Eric Schmidt fielded questions about innovation and the global economy.

"My question is about clean jobs and high-tech manufacturing," asked high school student Pavan Rajgopal. "Do you think these fields will ever completely replace the high volume of manufacturing jobs that have been lost over the last 30 to 40 years?"

Rajgopal isn't sure if there's a "clean job" waiting for him. But he wants to keep his options open.

"It's the future. So it's definitely possible," he said.

In the 1980s, young people didn't see much of a future in Pittsburgh. Working-age families fled the city in droves. Now, though, Pittsburgh's unemployment rate is lower than the rest of the country's. And more and more young people are deciding to stay.

"I think people have recognized, over the last decade especially, that it's a valuable place to be," said teacher Kate Benson.

She was one of a crowd of young people attending a "beer summit" this week at the Sharp Edge Beer Emporium. Participants sampled brews from a half-dozen G-20 countries.

Economist Briem is proud of all the attention Pittsburgh is getting for its economic turnaround. But he cautions that the makeover is not finished.

"What I hope doesn't happen is that we think we've arrived somewhere," he said. "This is only the beginning of wherever the future goes."


Here are a few videos about the Lifetime movie The Memory Keeper's Daughter. These are two interviews with Krystal Nausbaum, the actress who plays Phoebe.






Here's that song that I mentioned in class. It's called Escape (The Pina Colada Song) and it was written and performed by Rupert Holmes. You can see that there is a "twist" at the end of the song! It was the #1 song at the end of 1979 and the beginning of 1980, when I was a senior in high school.

Escape (The Pina Colada Song)
Rupert Holmes

I was tired of my lady, we'd been together too long.
Like a worn-out recording, of a favorite song.
So while she lay there sleeping, I read the paper in bed.
And in the personals column, there was this letter I read:

"If you like Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the rain.
If you're not into yoga, if you have half-a-brain.
If you like making love at midnight, in the dunes on the cape.
I'm the lady you've looked for, write to me, and escape."

I didn't think about my lady, I know that sounds kind of mean.
But me and my old lady, had fallen into the same old dull routine.
So I wrote to the paper, took out a personal ad.
And though I'm nobody's poet, I thought it wasn't half-bad.

"Yes, I like Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the rain.
I'm not much into health food, I am into champagne.
I've got to meet you by tomorrow noon, and cut through all this red tape.
At a bar called O'Malley's, where we'll plan our escape."

So I waited with high hopes, then she walked in the place.
I knew her smile in an instant, I knew the curve of her face.
It was my own lovely lady, and she said, "Oh, it's you."
And we laughed for a moment, and I said, "I never knew"..

"That you liked Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the rain.
And the feel of the ocean, and the taste of champagne.
If you like making love at midnight, in the dunes of the cape.
You're the love that I've looked for, come with me, and escape."

"If you like Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the rain.
If you're not into yoga, if you have half-a-brain.
If you like making love at midnight, in the dunes of the cape.
You're the love that I've looked for, come with me, and escape."