In 1965, Norah and Dr. David Henry have their first baby and it ends up being twins, Paul and Phoebe. When David, the father, who is delivering them, notices that the girl twin has Down syndrome, he tells the nurse to bring her to an institution and later tells his wife she was born dead.
He is positive the child will die of a heart defect and thinks to spare his wife the heartache of losing a child.
His one decision continues to affect the rest of their lives in very negative ways. The story keeps up with their family as well as the nurse who keeps Phoebe to raise as her own in secret.
It was definitely thought provoking and gives you some perspective into the time period. The resources available to mentally challenged individuals and the acceptance of them in society has come a long way thanks to people like Caroline the nurse who fought for changes in legislature.
What did you think?Some of the questions we discussed:
Should the nurse have informed Norah of her child being alive?
Would Phoebe have had a better life with her mother or with the nurse who devoted her life to making sure she had the best education?
Should individuals with Downs marry and what if they have children of their own?
Our book for Oct/Nov is The Diplomats Wife by Pam Jenoff