All Is Not Forgotten
by Wendy Walker
Publishing Date: 14th July 2015
Source: Copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!
Number of pages: 384
Genre: Psychological Thriller, General Fiction (Adult)
You can erase the memory. But you cannot erase the crime. Jenny’s wounds have healed. An experimental treatment has removed the memory of a horrific and degrading attack. She is moving on with her life. That was the plan. Except it’s not working out. Something has gone. The light in the eyes. And something was left behind. A scar. On her lower back. Which she can’t stop touching. And she’s getting worse. Not to mention the fact that her father is obsessed with finding her attacker and her mother is in toxic denial. It may be that the only way to uncover what’s wrong is to help Jenny recover her memory. But even if it can be done, pulling at the threads of her suppressed experience will unravel much more than the truth about her attack. And that could destroy as much as it heals.
You know, I’ve requested this book after reading the synopsis, thinking it’s going to be a next psychological thriller on my list. It was only when I started reading it I realised that it’s going to be a very special read, a very unusual read, and sure, it is a book that truly got under my skin. I’ve finished reading it few days ago and I am still thinking about it, about the events and situations – it is not a book that you finish, close and forget. it’s very intense and compelling, very controversial and thought – provoking and oh boy, am I glad that I came across „All Is Not Forgotten”.
„All is Not Forgotten” is a story about rape – a young girl is raped in the woods during a house party. And the author doesn’t spare us the descriptions – the rape is graphic. Very graphic. It made me cringe inside and often I felt repulsion, it really made me feel sick. But back to Jenny, the main character – she is offered a new treatment, during which the doctors can erase the memory of the rape and the aggressor so that she will never have to come back to those memories. But – and this is one big BUT – can you really erase all memories? And is it sensible? Can you cope without knowing? Without those memories it’s impossible to punish the assassin. So Jenny’s parents, Charlotte and Tome, seek help of a psychiatrist who specializes in therapy that should bring back her memories.
What surprised me most was the way the book was written, I think I’ve never read a book written in such a way, as if it were told from someone’s perspective, someone’s that is not involved. At the beginning I didn’t have a freaking idea who it is that is telling the story and I must admit, it annoyed me, it really annoyed me. This person was reporting what has happened as if they were a fly on the wall. I had my suspicions who this could be and it was confirmed in chapter 7, I think, but really, till then it irritated me not to know who is talking to us. And to be totally honest, the first half of the book felt as if I am reading a psychology coursebook – there were so many descriptions of feelings, emotions, the therapy and the author was using very technical words, words that I’ve seen for the first time in my life actually, and it was hard and difficult to get through this half. The very clinical tone, and especially the focus on exploring all the psychological aspects is – in my opinion – really dangerous. While studying I used to also have psychology classes, and I loved them, I was the only one to get the best note once (sorry. Sorry. I needed to tell you this ) but still, there were moments that it was too much of the academic language and I skim – read some of those passages. There were also many facts and some characters introduced that seemed so insignificant to this story, because well, let’s be honest, why should I be interested in someone, a person that the therapist was also helping? Yes, it annoyed me, and I was so close to put this book away, but there was something that kept me reading, and when I crossed this magic half, then I didn’t want to put this book away for a single second! It kept me hooked, I knew who is who and why and I had a feeling that actually everything is VERY significant to the story. It is a book that you can love or hate but it is for sure not going to leave you emotionless and indifferent.
It was really a very special way to tell the story through the eyes of the psychiatrist. It was like a never ending, very long monologue and there were no dialogues like we are used to. He was only reporting what other people told him and yes, it took me a long time to get used to it. It switched from character to character, it switched between times but it was always told through Dr. Forrester eyes. And as much as he tried to be objective and presented us the facts without emotions, there came a moment that I stopped to believe in his objectivity and I’d give anything to hear something, anything directly from other characters. This narrative is almost analytic, with no emotions involved, so clinical and clean. My biggest problem was that I couldn’t place Dr. Forrester. I wasn’t sure if I can trust him – no idea why, though somewhere after the first half of the book I stopped to trust him completely, although it was again mixed, because he had his own interior motives but still it seemed that he really wants to help Jenny! So what to think??? I also had problems with his personality. He seemed so smug and arrogant, the know – better – kind, patronising his own wife and her not being as intelligent as he was. He was totally devoid of emotions, or at least he looked like this, and maybe he needed to be like this to stay professional, but he just gave me the shivers. However, I had a feeling that he knows much more than he wants to say and that he tried not to let out anything and also that I am not fully allowed into the story because he controls everything.
But no matter what you think and what are your feelings towards the book, it is for sure going to make you think. It is a story full of twists and turns and tension and honestly, I didn’t know till the end who raped Jenny and why. I’m not sure how I feel about it, and especially about the reasons why and what made the assassin to did what they did but I think it couldn’t have different end, as I think the author wanted to show us how different people’s minds work. It was not an explosive reveal or something like this, no, but for me it was still unexpected, and thanks the author for this! Altogether, a dark story written by the author who knows how to manipulate the reader, a very unpredictable read, moving and very intense. Recommended!