A somewhat difficult book to read and to review, without giving too much away. The book is set in small town America and opens with the story of a teenager going to her first house party, invited by her crush. Things do not work out as anyone would have hoped, and there is an account of a harrowing, brutal rape which I found hard to read and almost gave up. However, I persevered. The victim, Jenny is given a drug treatment to erase the memories of this horrible attack, even though it will hinder police investigation of the crime, but it does not work well and memories begin to bubble up, causing much distress.
The next section is written like a case history, as a psychiatrist/psychotherapist gives his account of his treatment of Jenny and her family, and others who have suffered various trauma. Having worked in psychiatric and therapeutic settings, I felt very much at home with this, until events made me begin to question the professionalism and ethics of the psychiatrist.
The book throws up all sorts of questions and, as others have mentioned, would be rich pickings for a book club discussion: power in relationships, professional boundaries, the morality of removing troublesome memories of trauma as opposed to seeking to help trauma victims come to terms with what has happened to them and deal with triggers for PTSD are just some of them. Also, how far would you go to protect your child?
"Physician, heal thyself" seems pertinent, as does the famous Hippocratic oath, "First, do no harm." It is a thought provoking and good if (at times) difficult read. My final summation was Macchiavelli meets Lolita. It is a good psychological thriller that will keep the reader guessing. It is powerful stuff. You can buy yours in any good book store, or via this link.
Wendy Walker has worked as an attorney specialising in family law. She lives in Connecticut where she is at work on her next novel.
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