I tell my young patients and my own children, that this is not their life. Not yet. What they are doing now is building a house. It is a house they will have to live in for the rest of their lives, so they’d better get it right. They will be able to remodel, redecorate, and repair. But they can never rebuild. Everything they put into this house, every emotional scar from a bad relationship, every sexual perversion they give in to, every opportunity they secure for themselves, every drug they allow to interrupt their maturing of their growing brains, will be forever in the foundation of that house.
—All Is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker
Jenny Kramer is a nice, normal girl living in a upper middle class Connecticut town. That is, until she goes to party, gets humiliated, runs into the woods that are in back of the house, and is attacked and brutally raped.
At the hospital, her parents (mostly her mother) decide that she should be given a new drug that will medically erase her memory of the assault. And then her parents (mostly her mother) are so relieved that they forego the recommended therapy, thinking that their daughter is going to be just fine, and therapy will only bring up bad feelings.
But they’re wrong. As she heals physically, she has no way to deal with or understand the rage she feels emotionally. In other words, even though she can’t remember the act, she remembers the feelings.
Her parents have their own trouble dealing with the attack. Jenny’s father is obsessed with finding the killer and exacting revenge. Her mother is losing control of her tightly held world, and her distant past is threatening to rear its ugly head.
A cry for help from Jenny leads this family to therapy, where readers meet the narrator, and Jenny meets another person, a young soldier, who has gone through the same treatment. As the search for the attacker continues, the intentions of everyone involved are called into question in the psychological thriller draws to an unexpected conclusion.
I could not put All Is Not Forgotten down. Wow.
I read this one in a couple of days, finding time during a busy week to squeeze in chapters whenever I could. When I wasn’t reading All Is Not Forgotten, I was thinking about it, wondering what I would do if I were in any of these shoes.
All Is Not Forgotten is told through the eyes of the family psychiatrist, Dr. Alan Forrester, the most unreliable of narrators. But, in the first third or so of the book, the reader doesn’t know who’s telling the story, only that it’s someone in the town, an individual relatively close to the situation.We only understand whose telling the story after he actually starts seeing the family (each individually) as a therapist.
And Dr. Forrester is not an innocent bystander. The whole second half of the book, his involvement in the situation and his use of influence is scary. I don’t want to spoil anything, and really that admission does not.
There are so many stories going on in this book, all of which start to devolve with this one horrific act. The mother’s tight hold on her family is explained by teen trauma she’s never admitted to her husband. The father’s need for revenge is spurred on by the fact that he lets his wife take control of everything. And Dr. Forrester’s motives are suspect throughout the whole book.
And then there is Jenny. She’s not really a main character in the story, more like a catalyst for all the hidden storms. She’s the only innocent in this whole story. The drug she is given causes her more problems than the original attack, and those problems bring her together with Sean Logan, a soldier who was given the drug after he lost an arm following an IUD attack. His story becomes just as dark as Jenny’s, and he starts to believe that he needs to help her recover by taking revenge on the attacker.
Looking on, and working all of them like puppets, is Dr. Forrester.
There are so many suspects, so many directions, such intrigue and psychological suspense. This story could easily have lost its center and focus, but somehow the story and the concentration stays tight, keeping the reader completely enthralled through the last word. Or at least it kept this reader completely enthralled.
I give this one 4.5 stars. I loved it!!!