Triggering Content: Rape, suicide, self harm, drug abuse
This book was done really well and overall I did like it. I can’t say that I enjoyed it because the topic was difficult and the way the author used graphic content to detail the events was rough to read through. But, overall, the novel was intriguing. I believe that it is considered a thriller but it is a really slow moving novel that might not interest a lot of people due to how slow it moves.
The novel focuses on Jenny Kramer and her family after she is brutally raped. Her parents make the decision to use a drug that will allow Jenny to forget her rape. They think that allowing her to forget will be the best course of action in order for her to move on. However, they are made to realize that making her forget probably wasn’t the best course of action and they end up seeking out the help of a Psychiatrist. The story is so much more complicated than the blurb makes it out to be and I wasn’t expecting it.
It is told from the Psychiatrist’s point of view and I will be honest and say that the psychiatrist was extremely unlikable. He is arrogant which can be really frustrating to read about but I honestly think that the author made him unlikable on purpose. It made the story work better.
The story covers some really controversial subjects. If you have experience with sexual assault you might know that within the mental health community there are people who say that people can’t forget their memories and if they ‘magically’ remember them those memories are false. There are professionals on the other side who say that people do forget their abuse at times and when they remember those memories are not false. The thing that both sides do seem to agree on is that memory is suggestive so if repressed memories are not handled carefully then the person can be subject to getting false memories. This novel talks a lot about suggestive memory and repressed memories (although in Jenny’s case the memories were repressed because of a medication). I suppose I found the subject of this novel so interesting because of my own past. As such, I thought that the way the author covered the issues was done well and what I read seemed quite accurate.
The other reason I liked this novel was because it discusses how ‘forgetting’ your abuse/rape might not be the easiest way to heal. As a survivor of sexual abuse I used to feel that had I never really remembered the abuse then my life might not have been so difficult. As I went through treatment I realized that remembering helped me to heal in the long run and if I hadn’t been able to deal with the trauma head on I probably wouldn’t have full healed. This novel touches on that fact in a really good way. What would happen if there was a drug that could help people forget something traumatic that happened to them? Would the benefits outweigh the disadvantages?
This novel was excruciating to read and there were times when the narrator would go on a tangent and I would get annoyed. It’s possible that this book could have been shortened but at the same time all the tangents that the author went on ended up coming together towards the end. I usually don’t like when narrators go on tangents or, as with this story, the narrator discusses one part of the story and mid way through moves on to discuss something else. However, the way it was done in this novel intrigued me. It left me wondering how exactly the pieces would all come together.
I rate this novel 4 out of 5 stars. I think that this novel is something many should take the time to read as long as they can deal with the triggers which were quite prevalent in the novel.