“I was really excited to start this novel as it is a best seller and had some fabulous reviews - The beginning of this novel pulled me in with its compelling, well-written scenes that depict David Henry, a Kentucky doctor, deliver his own twins and make the life-changing decision to have his daughter, who he recognizes has Down Syndrome, put in an institution. Instead of leaving her in the institution, David's nurse Caroline decides to start a new life in Pittsburgh and raise the girl, Phoebe, as her own daughter.
There were many passages in this book that contained vivid imagery, and it is clear to me that Kim Edwards is a talented writer. However, as the novel progressed, the story fell apart a bit. The problem was mostly with the characterization. Edwards simply tells us how the characters feel, and does that over and over again! That being said, the reader is left confused as to why David's wife, Norah, ever married David in the first place. We are told she is depressed and that she thinks of Phoebe, whom she was told by David had died at birth, quite often. Norah becomes the typical unhappy wife who has affairs and then starts her own business to refocus her attention.
Phoebe becomes somewhat unbelievable as a character, though she at least is likeable. She is too precocious... or maybe the problem is that Edwards writes very little of Caroline's day-to-day struggles with raising a child with Down Syndrome.
Paul, the 'normal' twin, first becomes an again too-cute child who loves to sing, before growing into a sullen, angry teenager whose passion is playing the guitar. And of course, he is ridiculously gifted at that and wants to go to Juillard, while his father tries to shove his own dreams down Paul's throat.
The novel becomes too bland, and though it is readable and definitely has its touching moments, the majority of the book is somewhat boring and lacks spark. I would recommend it to someone who wants to read one of those novels with a somber tone in which character's emotions are handed directly to the reader, instead of forcing the reader to think for his or herself. This book took me about a month to get through when I should have just put the book down and picked a new one but I am not a quitter! Really my recommendation is to not waste your time on this novel - life is to short and there are to many good ones out there to read - Happy Reading !!”
Jenne wrote this review Friday, January 28, 2011.