At our November meeting, we discussed The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards. The story opens during a blizzard in Kentucky. Dr. David Henry tries to drive his wife Norah to the hospital to deliver their child. Driving becomes dangerous so he stops at his clinic and calls his nurse Caroline to assist. Paul, a healthy little boy is unexpectedly followed by a girl who has Down Syndrome. His wife is sedated and barely aware of the second child. Thinking of the life and death of his sister who also had Down Syndrome and the grief that his mother suffered for the rest of her life, David decides to ask the nurse to take the child to an institution and informs his wife that the baby has died. Caroline does as she is directed but after seeing the institution cannot follow through. She instead moves to Pittsburgh where she raises Phoebe and becomes a strong advocate for access to education and services for Phoebe and other Down Syndrome children. The family is haunted by secrets. Norah grieves the loss of a daughter; David is emotionally walled off from his family by his secrets, his family and the poverty that he grew up in; the clerical error at university that dropped his surname; Norah’s drinking and numerous affairs and the secret of Caroline and Phoebe. One of our members commented that this book should have been titled “The Book of Secrets”. An excellent read.
(Image with permission Penguin RandomHouse)
And here are some recommended reads available from the Hamilton Public To borrow them or place a reserve, go to https://hpl.bibliocommons.com .
Missing Sarah by Maggie de Vries In 1998, Maggie de Vries’ sister, Sarah, went missing from Vancouver’s streets. Her DNA was found years later on serial killer Robert Pickton’s property.
Sarah was a sex worker and a drug addict. Sarah was black. As a child she suffered racial taunts and prejudice and at age 14 she ran away from home. In Missing Sarah, Maggie tries to find answers and understanding. She offers up Sarah’s journals and poetry. She interviews family and friends and becomes an advocate for the families of some 60 women who met the same fate as Sarah. This forced police, politicians, and the media to recognize and respond to their pleas for an investigation. A brutally honest book about the tragic downward spiral of an intelligent and sensitive young woman.
How Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky & Daniel Ziblatt. The authors, Harvard professors have spent more than twenty years studying the breakdown of democracies in Europe & Latin America. They bring their knowledge together in this book to examine the “health” of democracy in the United States under President Donald Trump. Their combined research indicates that there is a slow, steady weakening of critical institutions, such as the judiciary & the press, & the gradual erosion of long-standing political norms that puts democracy in danger. This information is well presented to the reader by examples & history from around the world. Will the United States drive down the road to authoritarianism or will it take an exit ramp? A thought provoking read. Paige Turner
Note: The bookmobile will be at Bennetto Community Centre on Thursdays from 4:30 to 5:15. There will be no access to the bookmobile to browse, but staff will be on hand for contactless returns and holds pickup.
Have you read any of our recommendations? Liked any of the same books we talked about or disagreed totally? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org .