Review: All Is Not Forgotten

Posted July 15, 2016

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: All Is Not Forgotten All Is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker
Published by Mira on 14th July 2016
Genres: Psychological, Thriller
Format: Hardback
Source: Publisher

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

A teenage girl is brutally raped when she attends a house party. She is found in the woods by the house and taken to hospital. It’s here that the decision is made to give her a treatment that will result in her having no memory of the assault.

Almost a year on, the girl is struggling with life. She has no memory of the rape, but her body itself remembers. Furthermore, her attacker has never been found, a fact that her father in particular struggles with.

So the girl, Jenna, begins seeing a psychologist who offers to help her uncover the memories that the treatment has hidden from her.

Our narrator throughout is the psychologist, Alan. Not only does he treat Jenna and her parents, but also an ex Navy SEAL who is trying to uncover his own traumatic memories that were “removed” by the same treatment.

Using the psychologist as the narrator is a brilliant idea. We see his interactions with all of the characters, his feelings towards them and consequently we uncover the story.

Walker definitely sucked me in with Alan. He makes for an interesting narrator. I guess at first his status as a doctor made me trust him and his storytelling, but I slowly realised his role as an “unreliable narrator”. I started the novel liking him well enough, but soon his pompous, self-defined intellectual superiority over others emerged and grated on me. Walker cleverly takes us through a range of emotions with Alan. By the end I truly didn’t know how I felt about him.

It might seem obvious, but I’d be amiss if I didn’t highlight that this is a novel about a rape. It’s graphic and uncomfortable to read at times, and so this isn’t going to be a book for everyone.

I found myself unable to put this book down. Alan’s unreliable narrating style kept me reading. I was fascinated by his relationship with not only his patients, but the other characters in this novel.

The whole concept around a drug / treatment that removes the memories of a trauma was something I found very interesting. The associated physical and psychological impacts, as told through the story, were fascinating. I think it’s important to say too that any technical aspects in this novel were well explained – at least as far as I’m concerned. I’m no doctor!

Basically, I couldn’t stop reading this book. I was drawn in from the outside and I just needed to find out more. The nature of the subject matter lent itself to narration by a psychologist, something that I personally think worked very well. All in all, I think this is book that will stay with me for quite some time.