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Daughter's Keeper
Cover of Daughter's Keeper
Daughter's Keeper
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How much would you sacrifice to save someone you love?

When Olivia, wild-haired and headstrong, makes a terrible mistake, she must turn to the person least likely to help—her mother, Elaine. Motherhood was a role that Elaine never embraced and her best never amounted to much. But now Olivia faces prosecution for a naïve connection to a drug deal and she needs Elaine more than ever. As the days count down and Olivia's future hangs in the balance, Elaine must decide just how much she is willing to give for a second chance with her daughter.

With Daughter's Keeper, Ayelet Waldman has crafted a redemptive journey at once highly emotional and unbearably suspenseful, as Olivia and Elaine's struggle builds to a beautiful, heart-wrenching climax. In this luminous, gripping novel, Waldman brings to life the tensions and the tenderness that forge the unshakeable bond between parent and child. Daughter's Keeper reveals the unlimited boundaries of forgiveness and the sacrifices we make for love.

"A powerhouse novel of complex emotions so compelling that when I finished the book, I started over again." —Amy Tan

"In Daughter's Keeper, Ayelet Waldman shows that the power of love, even when prickling with thorns, can ultimately provide what the criminal system cannot: a hard-fought, hard-won second chance." —Glen David Gold, author of Carter Beats the Devil

"Waldman's passion and affection for her characters shine through." —Publishers Weekly

"Waldman has written Daughter's Keeper with enough intelligence, tenderness and craft to shape outrage into a story that is both moving and enthralling." —Dave Eggers, author of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius and You Shall Know Our Velocity!

"Ayelet Waldman has brought the war on drugs home, and has shown us just how close to home it can come....She looks past headlines and into the heart. What she finds there is hope for us all." —Dorothy Allison, author of Bastard Out of Carolina

How much would you sacrifice to save someone you love?

When Olivia, wild-haired and headstrong, makes a terrible mistake, she must turn to the person least likely to help—her mother, Elaine. Motherhood was a role that Elaine never embraced and her best never amounted to much. But now Olivia faces prosecution for a naïve connection to a drug deal and she needs Elaine more than ever. As the days count down and Olivia's future hangs in the balance, Elaine must decide just how much she is willing to give for a second chance with her daughter.

With Daughter's Keeper, Ayelet Waldman has crafted a redemptive journey at once highly emotional and unbearably suspenseful, as Olivia and Elaine's struggle builds to a beautiful, heart-wrenching climax. In this luminous, gripping novel, Waldman brings to life the tensions and the tenderness that forge the unshakeable bond between parent and child. Daughter's Keeper reveals the unlimited boundaries of forgiveness and the sacrifices we make for love.

"A powerhouse novel of complex emotions so compelling that when I finished the book, I started over again." —Amy Tan

"In Daughter's Keeper, Ayelet Waldman shows that the power of love, even when prickling with thorns, can ultimately provide what the criminal system cannot: a hard-fought, hard-won second chance." —Glen David Gold, author of Carter Beats the Devil

"Waldman's passion and affection for her characters shine through." —Publishers Weekly

"Waldman has written Daughter's Keeper with enough intelligence, tenderness and craft to shape outrage into a story that is both moving and enthralling." —Dave Eggers, author of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius and You Shall Know Our Velocity!

"Ayelet Waldman has brought the war on drugs home, and has shown us just how close to home it can come....She looks past headlines and into the heart. What she finds there is hope for us all." —Dorothy Allison, author of Bastard Out of Carolina

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About the Author-
  • Ayelet Waldman is the author of the Mommy-Track Mysteries series, and is an adjunct professor at the Boalt Hall School of Law at UC Berkeley. She lives in Berkeley, California, with her husband, Michael Chabon, and their four children.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    July 7, 2003
    A starred or boxed review indicates a book of outstanding quality. A review with a blue-tinted title indicates a book of unusual commercial interest that hasn't received a starred or boxed review. DAUGHTER'S KEEPER Ayelet Waldman. Sourcebooks Landmark, $24 (352p) ISBN 1-4022-0096-X 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 fiancé. 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. (Oct.)Forecast:A 50,000 first printing and eight-city author tour might seem ambitious for this rather modest novel by Waldman (who is married to Michael Chabon), but the book comes festooned with an impressive array of blurbs (from Glen David Gold, Dave Eggers, Dorothy Allison and Amy Tan, among others).

  • Library Journal

    August 1, 2003
    Waldman, known for her delightfully lighthearted "Mommy Track" mysteries, here takes a serious turn as she explores the sad effects of the government's mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines on a middle-class California family. Elaine is a single mother whose relationship with her rebellious, difficult daughter Olivia is an emotional minefield. When Olivia, who is in the early stages of pregnancy, is arrested for selling drugs-although all she did was drive her boyfriend, an illegal Mexican immigrant, to meet his contact-both women come face to face with the realities of the law, which gives the judge little leeway in handing down a sentence. During Olivia's arrest, arraignment, and trial, and especially after the birth of her granddaughter, Elaine realizes that she has been given a second chance to forge a loving connection with Olivia. Although Waldman is clearly no fan of mandatory minimums, she follows the dictates of every good writing teacher by showing, not telling, readers the results of this misguided law. A good choice for all fiction collections.-Nancy Pearl, Washington Ctr. for the Book, Seattle

    Copyright 2003 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • School Library Journal

    November 1, 2003
    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 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    September 1, 2003
    Elaine, a middle-aged pharmacist, has recently become engaged to Arthur, her accountant. The only "wrinkle" in their affluent, carefully planned life is Olivia, Elaine's 22-year-old daughter, currently living with Jorge, whom she met in Mexico. Jorge starts dealing drugs, and Olivia becomes an unwitting accomplice when he gets busted while giving her a ride home from work. Olivia is jailed, facing up to 40 years in prison due to the mandatory minimum sentence for collaboration in a drug crime. Elaine hesitates to post bail, knowing she needs that money for the Tahoe condo she and Arthur have dreamed about. But as the severity of Olivia's grim predicament, including an unplanned pregnancy, gradually dawns on her, Elaine's mothering instincts are finally aroused. Suspense builds on two levels regarding the trial's outcome and the question of whether or not Elaine will step up and care for Olivia's baby. Waldman's unusual novel captivates the reader both with her reflection on the effects of mandatory sentencing, and her perceptive digging into a tenuous mother-daughter relationship pushed to unexpected limits.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2003, American Library Association.)

  • Glen David Gold, author of Carter Beats the Devil "In Daughter's Keeper, Ayelet Waldman shows that the power of love, even when prickling with thorns, can ultimately provide what the criminal system cannot: a hard-fought, hard-won second chance."
  • Publishers Weekly "Waldman's passion and affection for her characters shine through."
  • Dave Eggers, author of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius and You Shall Know Our Velocity! "Waldman has written Daughter's Keeper with enough intelligence, tenderness and craft to shape outrage into a story that is both moving and enthralling."
  • Dorothy Allison, author of Bastard Out of Carolina "Ayelet Waldman has brought the war on drugs home, and has shown us just how close to home it can come...She looks past headlines and into the heart. What she finds there is hope for us all."
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