Jenny’s wounds have healed.
An experimental treatment has removed the memory of a horrific and degrading attack. She is moving on with her life. That was the plan. Except it’s not working out.
Something has gone. The light in the eyes. And something was left behind. A scar. On her lower back. Which she can’t stop touching. And she’s getting worse.
Not to mention the fact that her father is obsessed with finding her attacker and her mother is in toxic denial.
It may be that the only way to uncover what’s wrong is to help Jenny recover her memory. But even if it can be done, pulling at the threads of her suppressed experience will unravel much more than the truth about her attack. And that could destroy as much as it heals.
Although not my usual read I carried on past the five pages mainly because of the unusual narrative voice – we don’t get to know who is telling the tale until we get into the thick of it, and by then it was too late – the story had taken on a life of it’s own.
It’s an all American tale a little reminiscent of American Beauty. The perfect family, not just one family but four. Four small town family tales within this story that intertwine to the ultimate conclusion.
A girl is attacked, the most horrific of attacks – an attack that devistates her parents, but also brings to light their troubles at home. There’s the disfunctional mother, the hard working and now distraught father not to mention the inexperienced 9-5 police officer trying to find the attacker.
And then there’s Alan, the psychiatrist and narrator. He’s been called in to treat Jenny in an effort to try and piece together the fragmented pieces of the attack that were partially eradicated by a new experimental treatment used in PTSD. All is not rosy in his own family back yard and, like Lester Burnham (American Beauty) we are increasingly drawn into his own imperfect life.
Sean, another one of Alan’s PTSD patients – does he hold the key as his life with his wife and son unfolds?
The final family – well that would include spoilers….
This is a unique exploration into the loves, lives, fears and fantasies of a small American Town. It’s not an easy read but then again that wasn’t the intention. It challenges how we see ourselves and, probably more importantly how we see our neighbours and our friends. My father used to say we never know what goes on within a family, within a marriage when the door closes – that’s never been more true than here.
Thank you NetGalley for the ARC