Book Review: The Memory Keeper’s Daughter

Title: The Memory Keeper’s Daughter
Author: Kim Edwards
Type: Fiction

This is a 400 page book and fairly long for my reading standards. So I had my doubts about completing it right when I started reading the book. But I survived and hence this review!

The story extends over a 25-year period starting in the mid-sixties. Pregnant wife has twins. The second child is born is born with down syndrome. Husband is the Doc who delivers the baby. He gives the baby away because of his traumatic experience with his own sister, who also had the down syndrome. He tells his wife that the baby died. The wife never gets to see the supposedly dead baby! This is a weak point in the story. One could argue that the rest makes no sense because of this or just let it be and give the rest of the book a chance. I chose the later and found it to be more than worth my while.

A very touching story. The author does a phenomenal job of capturing the story from the perspective of different characters involved. In other words, its not a story told from one character’s perspective. The Doc who lives with the secret, the wife who lives through the pain of losing her child, the woman who brings up the child, each of these characters are explored in great depth and story told at various stages from the perspective of each of these characters.

The writing does tend to get overly descriptive. In the early part of the book I found this to be a bit of a drag but as I progressed through the story, I actually enjoyed the detailed descriptions particularly the parts where the story is very moving and emotional. If the author had been more focused on just the story and gone a little easy on the somewhat excruciating descriptive details the story could well have been told in half the number of pages. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the book.

If you are the emotional type, this is a must read. If you are the impatient “cut the crap, tell me the story, damn it” type, then this one is definitely not for you. This book is a bestseller, btw.

Cricket: Aussies Crush India

The Aussies thrashed India, not surprisingly. For the first time in a long time, I checked the score only a couple of times while the match was in progress. I never thought India stood a chance. The Aussies in their current form are simply too good for the Indians. The India team on the other hand has way too many problems and simply does not have the skill or the depth to really challenge the Aussies. Oh well…

Firefox 2.0 Upgrade

Upgraded to the new Firefox 2.0. My bookmarks vanished. Then I uninstalled and re-installed it and magically the bookmarks re-appeared.

Didn’t find any dramatic changes in the new version. Good news is that it hasn’t crashed so far. I noticed that when you have multiple tabbed pages open it doesn’t prompt the you when you “kill” the browser window. I thought it previously used to prompt before exiting?

The user experience is far superior to IE 7.0 in my opinion.

Pak Crash to Defeat

After restricting SA, Pak crashed to defeat on a lively pitch. Younis Khan played a pretty iressponsible shot. None of the others appeared to threaten either. Pak is out of the series after all the off the field action (which is bound to start again!). I thought Boucher deserved the MoM award. His batting was crucial and he took a brilliant catch behind the stumps. Had he failed with the bat I doubt SA would have had a decent score to defend.

A side note on Younis Khan — his English is pretty bad! Inzy seems like an authority on English compared to this guy. How does he communicate with Woolmer??

Its great to see pitches that help bowlers. This ICC championship has been a low scoring affair with bowlers dominating for the most part. Wonder what’s in store for India against a 5-pronged Aussie pace attack!

Cricket: Team Composition Failed India

India put up an insufficient score and was severely handicapped by two of its main bowlers (RP, Pathan) failing miserably.

  • Firstly, its a shame that India went into this tournament without Sreesanth. The sooner Pathan is replaced the better. His bowling is an embarrassment. Defending a small total, India’s opening bowler starts off with 20+ runs in the first two overs! His batting is unlikely to survive the Aussie attack and his bowling has been consistently unpredictable. Its best to drop him for the next match at a minimum.
  • The other selection mystery is the preference for Raina ahead of Kaif or Mongia.
  • As for Viru, the man badly deserves to be dropped. It’s hard to understand why the likes of Shastri continue to praise him to the skies. His success in ODI ever since the last world cup has been dismal. When the likes of Hayden can be dropped its hard to understand why the Indian selectors persist with Viru for so long.
  • The other descision that backfired was the one to drop Powar. He has been in good form and has a decent record in ODIs lately. The wet ball theory for dropping him was a huge mis-calculation. With a small total to defend, his wicket taking abilities could have made a huge difference.

Given the strength of the Aussie team, India chances are probably over with this defeat to the WI. In any case, there appear to be way too many issues with the team starting with the selection. If the Indian think tank wakes up and smells the coffee, they should bring in Powar, Mongia and Kaif in place of RP, Pathan, and Raina. Unfortunately, there is no Uthappa or Gambhir in the 14 to replace Viru.

Iraq mess likely to persist post-election

As the elections draw close the big debate today is between, “Cut & Run” vs “Stay the Course” (sorry, this should be “Get the job done” which is the new Whitehouse mantra). While “Stay the Course” or “Get the job done” means continue to fight the war until the terrorists are defeated (the same boring posturing from different angles), Cut and Run proponents seem to have an interesting view on the issue.

The Republicans are driving home the fear factor that if the Democrats gain control, Cut & Run is guaranteed. The Democrats on the other hand are trying hard to not to seem “soft on terror” (resorting to time tables and other supposed anti-war stands etc.). The Democrats gaining control is likely to result in a host of investigations while the Republicans retaining control will mean more of the status quo.

This election might be all about the war in Iraq. But the sad part is that the mess in Iraq is likely to persist, no matter what the outcome of the election might be. A continued Republican control will mean a further endorsement of the war policy in Iraq. A change of hands will at least signal to the world that the American public is interested in a fresh look at its Iraq policy.

Champions Trophy: SL Crumbles

I was surprised to hear that SL crumbled against SA. On the slow turning wickets in India and based on current form, I thought SL had a good chance of scoring the fairly achievable target. But credit to SA bowlers. In general, this Champions trophy seems to be a low scoring affair. Its nice to see bowlers dominating. The ODIs have almost unfairly shifted the balance in favor of batsman. Its a nice change to have the batsmen earn every run!

Its a pity India is not playing Kumble despite having so many turning tracks. India will do well to play Mongia in the next match ahead of Raina, perhaps?

Rove thinks GOP Still Has A Chance

Karl Rove,the genius behind Bush’s 2004 re-election, doesn’t believe the opinion polls about a GOP fall in 2006. Genius once, genius twice? It would be remarkable success for him if he is able to pull off a GOP victory again. Many opinion polls put Kerry ahead of Bush in 2004, so his views on the opinion polls are not surprising. I saw Rove speak the other day (on TV) at a Republican fundraiser. I came away pretty impressed about his speaking abilities though I don’t agree with anything he said.

Talking of speaking abilities, I also caught some of Hillary Clinton’s debate for the NY Senate race. She speaks well and appeared very confident. But she comes across as tough and not necessarily likeable. She is sure to flunk the “whom would you rather have a beer with” test. Surprisingly, she never looked into the camera or at the panel.