ALL IS NOT FORGOTTEN by Wendy Walker: Book Review

If you could take a drug that would make you forget a traumatic incident in your life, would you take it? 

Jenny Kramer is a typical teenager, the only daughter in an upper-middle-class family in Connecticut.  Her story begins with a much-anticipated invitation to a party, a party that goes horribly wrong.

Jenny is just beginning to see herself as a desirable girl after years of being the “tomboy” in her group of friends.  She is always a friend but never a girlfriend until the afternoon at school when Doug Hastings asks her to meet him at the party as his date.  When she arrives he is with another girl; mortified and not a little drunk on the vodka shots she downs to cover her embarrassment, she walks into the woods surrounding the house.

There her attacker assaults and rapes her, abandoning her brutalized body and disappearing.  Finally, her cries attract the attention of some other teens who had wandered into the woods from the house party; then it was an emergency call to the police and to her parents.

Charlotte and Tom Kramer appear from the outside to be a perfect couple, but their marriage has many cracks.  There’s Charlotte’s social climbing, Tom’s endless hours at work, and, most important, Charlotte’s affair.  Now the two different points of view they have about Jenny’s rape will cause additional fractures.

The doctors explain that there is a new drug that can repress one’s memory of a particular event.  Tom doesn’t want to have Jenny take this drug; he feels it would be healthier for her to face the rape and possibly to remember something that would help the police catch her assailant.  Charlotte can’t imagine why he feels that way; she wants Jenny to be able to live as if the rape never happened.  Two opposite viewpoints, and Charlotte’s prevails.  But as the book’s title tells us, the mind is a strange thing and forgetting isn’t that easy.

Jenny’s story could have been taken from nearly any American newspaper today.  Her reactions, those of her parents, and the reaction of the novel’s narrator point out how many threads there are to her story.  Regarding the experimental drug, there really isn’t any best way to decide whether or not to use it, and it certainly isn’t possible to look at it without bringing emotions into it.  No one can bring a clean slate into the decision process.  What her parents decide reflects their own lives, past and present.  But must Jenny live with their choice?

Reese Witherspoon has bought the rights to All Is Not Forgotten and is developing the film for Warner Brothers.  Wendy Walker’s novel is a wonderful candidate for a movie.  Its characters are realistic, the story is fast-paced, and the ending is perfect.

You can read more about Wendy Walker at this web site.

Check out the complete Marilyn’s Mystery Reads at her web site.

 

Leave a Reply