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Daughter's Keeper Paperback – October 1, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (October 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402203136
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402203138
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,081,554 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Waldman, author of the Mommy Track mystery series, here takes a more serious tack, telling the story of a young woman who battles the American legal system's inflexible drug laws. Olivia Goodman, a rebellious 22-year-old, dropped out of college as a sophomore and headed for Mexico. After she moved back to her hometown of Oakland, Calif., she was followed by Jorge Luis Rodriguez Hernandez, with whom she had a brief affair in Mexico. Jorge crossed the border illegally and is unable to find work, and Olivia feels obligated to support him. Desperate for money, Jorge is persuaded to participate in a drug deal, and Olivia's vague complicity sweeps her into an intense legal battle when she is arrested with Jorge. To make matters worse, Olivia discovers she's pregnant with Jorge's baby. As Olivia fights for her freedom, her mother, Elaine Goodman, is doubly tormented. Elaine raised Olivia on her own, but never felt she could love her enough. Now, when she has finally found happiness with a man, she is forced to choose between helping her daughter and holding on to her fiance. Waldman takes a somewhat didactic approach-U.S. drug laws are discussed at length, and the story of Elaine and Olivia's relationship can read like a case history-but Waldman's passion and affection for her characters shines through.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School-Waldman departs from her relatively lighthearted "Mommy Track" mysteries with this politically charged, emotionally complex novel. Olivia, in her early 20s and living with her illegally immigrated Mexican boyfriend in Oakland, CA, identifies with a number of radical causes. Her pharmacist mother, Elaine, having struggled against her tendency to be free of the burdens of motherhood almost from Olivia's birth, is about to marry her accountant boyfriend, with whom she already leads a judiciously predictable life in a middle-class Berkeley neighborhood. When Olivia's boyfriend participates in a methamphetamine deal, the young woman is arrested as an accomplice. The machinations of federal law pertaining to drug conspiracy, the use of criminal informants, a mother's lifelong connection to her child, and the hothouse of Berkeley's raised consciousness on issues from biracialism to psychotherapy to choice of street slang all come to life. The two women and the men in their lives are fully realized, with both their sympathetic and shameful motivations clearly limned and juxtaposed to create optimum tension. How Olivia copes with her unexpected pregnancy and Elaine's eventual discovery of her own ability to nurture a dependent baby resonate with credible bumps and jerks that ironically enhance the plot's smoothness. Waldman gives readers the opportunity to consider how economics, the law, social mores, and human beings' natural tendencies interact with and counteract one another.
Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

One of the best-written books I have read in a while!
A Girl in the World
Olivia is a caring and compassionate individual who is too brash, naive, and impulsive for her own good.
E. Bukowsky
It took me a little bit to get into to, but then I really liked it.
Julie Cruz

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By doctor_beth #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 16, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The main character of this novel, Olivia Goodman, is an outspoken young woman who drops out of college to travel to Mexico. While there, she meets Jorge, a charismatic young man with whom she has a brief affair. Olivia returns to the US, and to her surprise, Jorge soon turns up on her doorstep as an illegal alien. Their life becomes a dreary routine of Olivia supporting them through her waitressing job while Jorge attempts--mostly unsuccessfully--to find work. Jorge's desperation to become the breadwinner leads to his tangential involvement in a drug deal; unfortunately, his poor judgment results in not only his own arrest but Olivia's as well.
What follows is an interesting insider's view of America's legal system, particularly the "mandatory minimum" sentences which can result in lengthy jail sentences for innocent bystanders like Olivia. However, the novel also contains a series of engaging character studies, as the story is told from various perspectives. Olivia herself is confronted with the necessity of taking responsibility for actions in light of both her possible jail time and her impending pregnancy. Her mother, Elaine, is torn between her disapproval of Olivia and her desire to help her child; Elaine must face the lack of maternal instinct which has clouded her entire relationship with her daughter. Olivia's public defender, Izaya, is a jaded but brilliant attorney who is spurred on by Olivia's innocence as well as his growing feelings for her. Finally, lesser characters such as Jorge and Arthur, Elaine's boyfriend, also impact the storyline with their unique viewpoints.
I found myself caught up in Olivia's story, silently rooting for her as she faced trial.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By lisatheratgirl VINE VOICE on May 23, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I read this book through to the end and tend to agree with almost all of the previous reviews. The story (the plot) is interesting and compelling and kept me going. The author did make her point about the DEA and the federal sentencing guidelines and how the federal system eats the innocent and the amateurs, while the hard-core professional criminals are rewarded for ratting out others. I am a lawyer and this is not my field of work, but I did know a little bit about the subject. I say this because even I was horrified at the results obtained in the case the author described and I'm sure it is accurate. I think the book is worth reading just to open people's eyes. That said, the author's writing technique is not very good, use of m--dashes on every other page to break up runon sentences drove me crazy, as well as all the other things reviewers mentioned. I also felt that her characters were not well thought out or believable, particularly Elaine. If you're going to deliever such an important message, take the time to do it well,
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By E. Bukowsky HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 12, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Ayelet Waldman, in a startling departure from her Mommy-Track Mysteries, has written a serious novel called "Daughter's Keeper". It is about a middle-aged woman named Elaine Goodman who owns her own pharmacy, lives with a man she loves, and is contentedly looking forward to a restful retirement.
Elaine's happiness would be complete were it not for her contentious daughter, Olivia. Olivia is a college dropout and a political activist. She was jailed briefly on several occasions for participating in various protests, and she works as a waitress to support herself and her boyfriend, Jorge, an illegal immigrant. Olivia never knew her father, and her relationship with her mother has always been thorny.
This uneasy mother-daughter relationship is tested when Olivia faces a series of legal and personal crises that threaten to destroy her future. Suddenly, Elaine must make some tough decisions. Should she concentrate on keeping her own life on track, or should she sacrifice her plans to help Olivia?
Waldman slowly and deliberately sets up her story and she fleshes out her characters carefully. We get to know Elaine as a person who has suffered and struggled to get where she is, and who admits that mothering Olivia has never been easy for her. Olivia is a caring and compassionate individual who is too brash, naive, and impulsive for her own good. A particularly fascinating character in this novel is Izaya Feingold-Upchurch, a passionate defense attorney who helps Olivia when she gets into serious legal trouble.
Waldman explores many themes in "Daughter's Keeper". How much do we owe our children, especially when they reach their twenties and act irresponsibly? What is the statute of limitations for parents when it comes to rescuing their adult children?
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Christina B. Erickson on March 3, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book is the story of a young woman who battles America's drug laws. 22 year old Olivia Goodman is in a bind when her boyfriend, illegal Mexican immigrant Jorge, is persuaded to participate in a drug deal, and Olivia's vague complicity sweeps her into an intense legal battle when she is arrested with Jorge. Her mother, Elaine, has choose between helping her daughter and pleasing her fiance.

I really liked this book a lot because of the way it explores the relationship between Olivia and her mother - it starts off with clashes and discomfort, and develops and changes throughout her experience and actually had me in tears by the end.

I also liked the author who has a lot of knowledge about the legal system and the drug laws in question. It taught me a lot about these laws that I'd never considered before. I always like books where I learn interesting things! A fast moving story to the end.
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