Book Review: All is Not Forgotten

About a quarter of the way through this book I had my mind made up as to who the villain was, and I thought man, I'll be so disappointed if it's not this guy.

Well, I was disappointed.

Before I continue, let me first say that this is an excellent novel. The story is about a high school girl, Jenny, who is viciously raped, then given a controversial drug that makes her forget the events of the rape. The treatment, as it's called in the novel, has unintended negative consequences, and Jenny is brought to a psychologist who works to help her recover her memories. Things spiral out from there, particularly when the psychologist's son becomes a person of interest, and eventually somebody dies at the hands of a guilt-wracked father, but it doesn't turn out the way you think. And speaking of things not turning out the way you think...

I thought the psychologist would turn out to be the rapist.

The story is told from his point of view, and boy is he a piece of work. He's very smart, very professionally accomplished, but he uses his powers for personal gain and straddles the line between good and evil, especially when his son becomes suspect. He justifies his actions as trying to be a good father and protect his family, though you'll later learn that his motives aren't so pure.

He is an unreliable narrator, telling the story in bits and pieces that jump all over the timeline, and he takes a disproportionate amount of interest in the graphic details of Jenny's rape. The book actually opens with a detailed description of the rape that at first seems like it's from a third-person perspective, but then, horrifyingly, turns into a first-person perspective that immediately set my teeth on edge. Learning that the narrator is Jenny's psychologist and therefore would know these details is (I think) meant to be comforting, but my suspicions were already raised and never went away.

His personal investment in helping her recover her memories, plus the structure of the novel, plus his cool detachment and borderline apathy, all had me convinced he was the rapist and that he was playing with his food, so to speak, by treating her. When all was explained in the end, although it tied up nicely, I was a little bummed out. I so wanted him to be this manipulative, despicable person disguised as a good guy, a la The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. Oh well. Maybe someday I'll write that story.

Overall an addicting, highly entertaining read.