I kindly received an advance copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Published: 14th July 2016 (MIRA)
Synopsis: 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 actually read this book a while ago however I was sworn to secrecy whilst Harper Collins finalised their plans for the book…and what a book it is!! The narrative centres around the horrific and brutal rape of a 15 year old girl during a party, however it is told not from her point of view. Instead the entire book is told by the therapist enlisted to help Jenny to recover her memories, with the voice of the other characters coming through his narrative.
Jenny is like most young girls, going to a party with her friends and hoping for a good time. She has her eye on a boy but is devastated to find that he is interested in someone else. Instead of staying at the party, Jenny makes to terrible decision to leave and finds herself in the woods being subjected to a horrendous ordeal at the hands of an unknown male. I have to warn you, the book is graphic in places, but it is not gratuitous, it is there to demonstrate the horrific experience and explains why Jenny’s parents, Catherine and Tom, choose to give Jenny the drugs in order to prevent her from remembering what happened to her.
The main narrative focuses on the therapy that all of the family go through in order to help Jenny because the not remembering isn’t actually helping Jenny come to terms with what has happened to her and certainly isn’t helping with finding the perpetrator.
Alongside Jenny, Alan (the therapist) is also helping Sean, an ex-solider who is trying to come to terms with the lost of a fellow solider who, he believes, that he is responsible for killing. Sean and Jenny build a bond despite the age difference, as they have both received the drug to stop them remembering, in Sean’s case, in an attempt to prevent PTSD.
For the first half of the book, I thought I could see where it was going, a straight-forward story about remembering horrendous details and justice prevailing. How I was wrong! It is not as simple as that, Walker weaves a fantastic tale that once you think you know what is happening, she blows all of that out of the water. I could not put this book down once I got into the detail of the other sub-stories and the complexities that each of this brings. This is not just a story of a horrendous sexual assault, it is also an education into the mental psyche, the integrity, confidence and openness of the relationship between the therapist and his subjects. Walker provides an insight as to how the therapist hears different sides of the same story whilst having to maintain patient confidentiality.
I enjoyed the fact that the story was told from a unreliable narrator as it kept me guessing right until the very last pages. The tension is built up brilliantly though the conversational based narrative and the little snippets about future parts of the story that Alan throws in before bringing himself back on track to telling the story chronologically.
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