The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards

10441At the outset, I really enjoyed this book. I was sucked into the premise, and I could see that it had a lot of potential to be an incredible book. But somewhere along the way, Edwards dropped the ball.

For me, the most disconcerting thing about this novel was the characterization. After nearly an entire book filled with page after page of these characters’ thoughts, emotions, inner struggles, etc., you would think the characters themselves would be leaping off the page at you. But about 3/4 of the way through the book, I suddenly realized I didn’t know Norah at all. The young wife from the beginning transformed into this assured, powerful woman so suddenly that her character just didn’t make sense. The more I thought about it, the more I realized I didn’t really know any of the characters. Although you spend so much time inside the heads of these characters, all the little details don’t quite add up into a believable whole.

The premise and the plot were very well-conceived, although it could move a bit slowly at times. I can see that Edwards is creating a study on the way lies can form and break relationships and lives, and there are some beautiful passages and some great truths to be found here. But after finishing it, my first thought of …”Eh. That wasn’t bad,” told me that Edwards could have done something more with this novel.

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Run by Ann Patchett

51RoLphZ8BLI had finally read Bel Canto last year, and I really wished I’d read it sooner. It was such an amazing work, and although I haven’t gotten around to reading anything else by her yet, I got the chance to read this one pretty soon after it came out. I expected something if not as good as Bel Canto, at least comparable, but I was disappointed.

It was a relatively quick read, but I found myself finishing the book just for the sake of finishing it. There was something about the pacing that bothered me that I can’t quite put my finger on, and I think that Patchett is capable of showing human connections that run much deeper than they did in this novel. As another reviewer stated, it felt as though she was only scratching the surface of these characters – they didn’t have nearly as much depth as they were capable of having.

Overall, the story was an interesting one, and it has a lot of potential to be a great novel – it just doesn’t quite get there.