Description: In the small, affluent town of Fairview, Connecticut everything seems picture perfect. Until one night when young Jenny Kramer is attacked at a local party. In the hours immediately after, she is given a controversial drug to medically erase her memory of the violent assault. But, in the weeks and months that follow, as she heals from her physical wounds, and with no factual recall of the attack, Jenny struggles with her raging emotional memory. Her father, Tom, becomes obsessed with his inability to find her attacker and seek justice while her mother, Charlotte, prefers to pretend this horrific event did not touch her perfect country club world.
As they seek help for their daughter, the fault lines within their marriage and their close-knit community emerge from the shadows where they have been hidden for years, and the relentless quest to find the monster who invaded their town – or perhaps lives among them – drive this psychological thriller to a shocking and unexpected conclusion.
“All Is Not Forgotten” is a psychological thriller. Written by Wendy Walker, the novel weaves together the lives of several people surrounding a family who’s teenage daughter is brutally attacked. Fifteen-year-old Jenny Kramer was raped and carved during a high school party. After allowing her to be given a controversial drug that is supposed to erase her memory, Jenny’s mother believes that her daughter will be able to go back to “normal” since she won’t need to relive the painful memories. However, Jenny’s story takes a turn and without being able to remember what happened to her, she is unable to process her emotions.
One of the most interesting aspects of this book is the perspective. In the first few chapters, you’re kept guessing who the narrator is as he describes the situation and explicates his own involvement with the Kramer family. At first, I was thinking it would be one of her parents or good friend, but the choice of a psychiatrist was a terrific way to thread together the various storylines from each member of the family as well as claim a somewhat unbiased account of events.
The novel explores how our brains work, how memories are made and stored, as well as our emotional reactions to the things around us. Erasing a memory doesn’t mean it’s gone, and not remembering doesn’t take away the pain. Because memories and emotions are so volatile, it made the puzzle of Jenny’s memory unsettling – both to try to relive and disconcerting to think someone could just choose to take them away or alter them.
Wendy Walker did a great job of telling a compelling story, complete with a twisted mystery that makes the ending that much more unexpected. The individual characters felt a bit under-developed as I really wanted to get to know Jenny, Tom, and Sean more, but due to the perspective of the story it was realistic and made sense to have so many intimate details without necessarily grasping the full picture.
As intriguing as the mystery behind Jenny’s attack was to keep this story moving, the most fascinating aspect was examining the concept of memories and seeing how the various characters react to situations without thinking about how their individual actions will affect not only them but the path of everyone involved. As Wendy Walker aptly writes, “With youth comes the inability to know what’s going to happen as a decision is played out. It is one of the greatest shames of the human experience that by the time we know how to conduct ourselves in an appropriate manner, there’s little conducting left to do.” (Page 29)
*I received this book through BookSparks for participating in #SRC2016 in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.