Book: All Is Not Forgotten
Author: Wendy Walker
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.
I'm so intrigued by this book, and I think you guys will be too. The plot absolutely fascinates me, I've always had a little bit of an obsession with stories that involve memories, so this is right up my street. Keep reading for a excerpt from All Is Not Forgotten.
TRIGGER WARNING: This excerpt contains scenes that relate to sexual assault.
I closed my eyes and just let the monster in. I pictured him in my mind. He was like a blob of darkness and I couldn’t really see his shape because it changed as he moved. But I could see the roughness of his skin, with craters and bumps. I remember feeling him inside my stomach. It was like an explosion of that feeling when you’re really nervous, like right before a track meet, when I’m on the block waiting for the gun, but a million times worse. I just couldn’t take it. I started rubbing my scar. I remember doing it that night. I couldn’t stop. I wanted to scream but I knew that wouldn’t help. I had done that a lot of times since the rape. I would tell my parents I was going for a run and then I would run, but only until I was far from the house in the field behind the tennis courts at the park. And then I would scream and scream. As soon as I was done, like everything else, running, sleeping, getting drunk or high – as soon as I was done it would come back. I wanted to peel myself off of me. This had been going on for almost eight months. It was just too long.
Jenny had started taking substances to relieve her anxiety. It had initiated with alcohol and progressed to marijuana and pills. The pills she would get from her friend’s bathrooms – anything she could find. She’d been through all of her own Oxycotin, even after the physical pain was gone. Her parents didn’t know, which is surprisingly common. They had noticed the change in her friends and a fairly drastic decline in her grades, but they were “giving her some slack.”
It is unfortunate, no – unforgiveable, that the professionals who advocated this treatment for Jenny, or anyone for that matter, failed to appreciate what is a known fact. That regardless of whether or not events are filed in our memories, the physical reaction that is experienced is programmed into our brains. I can explain it as simply as this. If you were to touch a hot stove and burn your hand, but later made to forget how you got the burn, your body would still have the fear of being burned. Only it would not be activated only by heat, or a red hot burner on a stove. It would come and go at its leisure and you would have no idea how to stop it.
Jenny had no memory of her rape, but the terror lived in her body. The physical memory, the emotional response that was programmed into her, had nothing to attach to – no set of facts to place it in context. And so it roamed freely within her. The only thing that was left from the rape, both on her body and somewhere in the recesses of her mind, was the scar from the carving.