The Weeks In Books, No.s 29 and 30

Can you believe we’re already 30 weeks into the year???

I had to miss book club this month since we were on our vacation, but I read the book anyway, and I’m REALLY sorry I missed the discussion because it was a great story with a lot of interesting issues. The Memory Keeper’s Daughter
is a story of a doctor whose wife has twins, a boy and a girl. As soon as they are born, the father realizes the little girl has Down’s Syndrome, and so he gives the baby to the nurse to dispose of in an institution, and tells his wife the baby died. Instead of dropping the baby off at the awful institution, the nurse runs away and raises the baby herself. The doctor’s wife’s perception that the baby has died, plus the doctor’s deception, combine to destroy their marriage and negatively influence the boy twin, while the twin with Down’s Syndrome brings joy and fulfillment to the nurse, even as the nurse has to battle society to gain acceptance.

As I read this book, I couldn’t help but think of an article I recently read about how many babies with Down’s Syndrome are aborted. While the book doesn’t minimize the struggles of raising and living with a child with Down’s Syndrome, it does poignantly illustrate the joy and richness that handicapped children can still bring to a family.

My aunt Catherine lent me Acquired Tastes
and I found it to be the perfect light and entertaining read after finishing the book above. Peter Mayle tried out lots of different luxuries that people might adopt, and wrote about whether or not those items or habits were really worth the time, money, and hassle involved. As Mr. Mayle is himself male, the subjects focus on gentlemen, but will still be of interest to ladies. The chapters are droll and witty, in addition to being informative. If you want to know about getting shoes custom made in London (turns out it’s more economical than you might think), or have been wondering whether having a live-in domestic staff is worth it (more of a headache than it’s worth), this is the book for you. If you have not been wondering those things, I expect you’d still find the book entertaining.

Marriage to a Difficult Man: The Uncommon Union of Jonathan & Sarah Edwards
was an interesting book that didn’t quite live up to its potential. I enjoyed the study of the Edwards’ marriage, which was remarkably good and loving, and also the information on how the couple approached childrearing, since their home was by all reports uncommonly happy and harmonious. There were also a lot of interesting facts and anecdotes about the time period. However, I did feel like Ms. Dodds should have stayed away from theological pronouncements, as she was clearly out of her depth there (for example, since when is Armenianism a branch of Calvinism? Isn’t it more like Calvinism’s antithesis? Or am I out of my depth too?), and she also succumbed far too frequently to long tangents only loosely related to the topic at hand. I wish she had gone into more detail about the marriage and childrearing portions of the book. Still, it was an interesting read, and many thanks to Nicole B. who recommended it to me.

Currently Reading:
Job, Psalms, Mark, 2 Peter
“The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay” by Michael Chabon

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