Wendy Walker

All Is Not Forgotten

"'I devoured this novel.'"


In the small town of Fairview, Conneticut Jenny Kramer, a teenage girl, 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.

In the weeks and months that follow, Jenny heals from her physical wounds but struggles to deal with the raging emotions she is experiencing. Emotions she cannot connect to the event that’s triggered them because she has no memory of it.

Jenny’s father, Tom becomes obsessed with his inability to find her attacker while her mother, Charlotte prefers to pretend this horrific event hasn’t touched 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 hiding for years. Until the relentless quest to find the monster who invaded their lives drives this psychological thriller to its shocking, unexpected conclusion.

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I’m going to kick off this review by saying I loved this book. It is clever, complicated and very original. The blurb on the back of the edition that I received led me – mistakenly as it turned out – to expect a ‘stalker hunts his victim’ sort of novel. What a pleasant surprise it was when I realised I was reading quite a different story altogether. Although the drug Jenny is given is effective, it cannot erase the emotions triggered by the attack. In the weeks and months that follow, Jenny increasingly struggles to deal with her feelings. In desperation, Jenny’s parents turn to local psychiatrist Dr Alan Forrester to see if he can help their daughter come to terms with what happened to her. At this point in the story, the reader is already familiar with Dr Alan because he is the novel’s sole narrator. And what a great, manipulative narrator he turns out to be. The entire story of Jenny’s assault, memory-erasing medical treatment and the terrible effects all this has on her family are related to the reader through Dr Alan’s eyes. As a psychiatrist, Dr Alan has a unique insight into the family and the problems they are experiencing. Before long, he’s not only helping Jenny, he is also treating Charlotte and Tom too. Each character has their own secrets and problems, revealed to us bit by bit through Dr Alan’s narrative. The more Dr Alan gets caught up telling his characters’ stories, the more relaxed he becomes, until he is also revealing more of his real self to the reader. And that’s the point when you realise there’s a lot more to Dr Alan Forrester than he’d first have you believe. I devoured this novel. Walker manages to achieve that fine balance between a story that’s pacey as hell, but also makes you think. It’s a clever, thought-provoking exploration of the long-term, psychological effects of trauma and the lengths any of us might go to in order to protect ourselves and those we love most. If you’re looking for a clever psychological thriller that has something original to say about the human condition, look no further than Wendy Walker’s debut.

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