The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards is a very fascinating and insightful book that everyone who is interested in special education should definitely read. After reading the book, I could not help myself but be compelled by the story’s main insight about the beauty of life despite the challenges brought about by the pain of the past and the challenges of the present.
In this book, two of the most compelling aspects that I would never forget are (1) the realization of Caroline of the struggles she is about to face for having a mentally handicapped child and (2) the hope and courage she has gathered all her life to be able to appreciate the beauty and mystery of her entire being. In the first insight, it is best exemplified by the most obvious and vividly compelling scenarios in the first few chapters of the book. One clear situation is when Caroline refuses the money Dr.
David Henry wanted to give her to start a new life again and move away from the depressing and helpless state in Kentucky. It is well-explained in this scene that not only will the book open up a narrative form of the beauty of remembering the past, it also immediately gives a hint of how life should always be a story of redemption and courage. Interestingly, this opening insight reminds me of the most important lesson everyone living with special children should always remember: everything shall pass when you are being patient.
Just like the freezing cold that surround the town of Kentucky and just like the undeniably unbearable pain of a mother who just realized the long arduous struggle of having a handicapped child, there is nothing in suffering that does not fully pass away in time. This is something that is well-linked throughout Kim Edwards Book and something we are immediately introduced right after we first realize how the hard future of Caroline’s twins shall be.
In understanding the essence of special education, nothing is more important than realizing and putting in practice the virtue of being patient. That is why the main situation in the book that made me appreciate the second insight even more is the time when Caroline finally heard of David’s death and told her children the truth. In this scene, I am immediately reminded of the basic requisite needed in having enough patience to answer the needs of special children: the pure truth. Everybody deserves the truth.
Just because the special children we are dealing with don’t always respond as fast as normal people do, does not mean they are less worthy of our trust. Just as the final realization of Caroline to tell her children everything about their past, we should never deprive anyone who is worthy of the truth the story they deserve to know. Thus, the resolution being highlighted in the final scenarios of this book simply shows the very important lesson in understanding the patience, courage and determination it takes to succeed in addressing the needs of special children: honesty.
Impact The three things in the book that I can clearly identify as having a strong impact to me as I work with individuals with disabilities and their parents in the future are quite similar to the insight I just mentioned above: (1) the value of courage, (2)the virtue of patience and (3)the importance of trust. The value of courage is best described in the part of the book when Phoebe and Paul were already eighteen-years old and Caroline was about to tell David the truth but then failed to do so because of an event David was hosting.
In one of the most subtle scenes in this part of the story, the courage of getting through life’s struggles while being patient clearly comes to mind. Something special education most importantly requires in cases where special children and their parents are made to do things they would otherwise just refuse to doing. The virtue of patience could not have been made clearer in the entire lay-out of the book. I could not express enough the important virtue of patience in handling patients with special needs.
It’s no different when handling with parents. The difficulty of making parents understand the strength and commitment it takes to raise special children could not be a more ideal example for this. The importance of trust in dealing with special children and their guardians is also best linked in the entire story of the book. When Caroline handles the difficulty of having a kid who has a down syndrome, I was struck with awe on how much strength she was able to gather in simply making ends meet by simply being honest to herself.
In dealing with special education, success on the part of the teacher is impossible without first getting the trust of the parents and their special children. In this aspect, I will not only agree with a critic who said that “The Memory Keeper’s Daughter is appealing to readers who want a literary page turner and something to discuss in their reading groups” (Rich, 2006, p. 1), but also declare that, overall, it is very successful at that.
This simply goes to say that it is a highly commendable recommended book for a type of audience who wants to understand more the industry of handling special children and the challenges their loved ones are facing each day. This book is also very important to those who want to understand life in someone else’s unique view. If such is the goal and purpose of the novel, I would definitely say the author is more than successful in achieving it. Reference Rich, M. (2006). “A Stirring Family Drama Is a Hit (in Paperback)” . The New York Times. http://www. nytimes. com/2006/07/13/books/13memo. html? _r=1. Retrieved on 2009-07-05
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