I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
It begins in the small, affluent town of Fairview, Connecticut, where 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, struggles to pretend this horrific event did not touch her carefully constructed world. As Tom and Charlotte 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. 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.
If you experienced a traumatic event, would you want your entire memory of it to be replaced? That is the very hard decision that Jenny's parents have to make for her and they are not prepared for the consequences. Jenny is sixteen years old when she is brutally raped in the woods during a party. The description of this rape is told in a very clinical way, but it's still brutal. The rape lasts for an hour and the description and the injuries are enough to turn anyone's stomach. At first glance, this miracle memory erasing drug seems like the answer to her parents' prayers. If I went through an attack like that, I would love to be able to just forget. The parents have to make this decision very quickly because the drug HAS to be administered right away for it to work. Jenny gets the drug and she is told about the assault, but she tries to go home and pretend like nothing happened. The problem is that her dad becomes obsessed with finding out who committed this crime and of course, no one thinks about the emotional memory that Jenny has about the rape. I appreciated the way memory was discussed and the scientific explanation of why Jenny's body might still appreciate the assault, even when her mind couldn't remember.
The problem I had with this story was the narrator. The narrator was the therapist that Jenny's parents eventually send her to so she might recover her memories and move past the assault. The first half of the book was written EXACTLY as if it were written by a therapist and that is not a good thing. All of the details regarding the assault and Jenny's parents and Jenny's suicide attempts were described as if a therapist were just making case notes. It was so detached and emotionless. The therapist also talked about things that seemingly didn't have anything to do with Jenny, like other patients and background for Jenny's parents. These things don't seem to connect with Jenny, but they eventually do. The premise said the conclusion was a shocking one and that is very true. But the rest of the story is just so slow and it takes so long to reach any action.
The first half of the book details how Jenny comes into the therapist's care. After about halfway through, there is a little more emotion from the narrator but that isn't what saves the book: it's the actual plot that saves this book from being so incredibly boring. I really wish this had been told from Jenny's POV, but then again, I am not sure the conclusion would have worked in the same way. Another issue I had besides the narrator was the focus of the story. I wanted it to be MORE about Jenny's memory and the trauma she was experiencing even though she didn't remember anything. Instead the focus was on finding Jenny's rapist. I understand that, I just wanted more from the whole memory aspect of it. I can't give away too much about the plot that bugged me without giving away spoilers, but I can say that it is twisted and shocking. It just moved way too slowly for my taste.
Buy/Borrow/Skip: Borrow this one. The first half is very slow, but if you can get past it, the conclusion does make it worth it.