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Book Review: All Is Not Forgotten

All Is Not Forgotten Book Cover

Rating: 3 stars

In the small, affluent town of Fairview, Connecticut 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, prefers to pretend this horrific event did not touch 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 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.

I thought this book was a pretty interesting read. It definitely didn’t turn out the way I expected, but it was worth every minute I spent soaking up the content.

The issues talked about in All Is Not Forgotten are pretty controversial. For starters, Jenny Kramer, who this story is about, gets raped at a party. Everyone in their small town knows about it and is scared because they don’t know who did it. But then, when her parents find out about the incident, they want her to take this drug to make her completely forget it ever happened. So within the first few pages of the story, we as the reader are given two controversial topics: rape and drugs. Then, we are introduced to the narrator, Jenny’s psychiatrist Dr. Forrester who tells us about how he wants to help Jenny get her memory back from that night. This made the book even more interesting to me because the narrator’s unique perspective in the tale gave me a better understanding of memory recall and other psychological terms and how mental illness played a role in helping Jenny with her memory. I found all of these topics interesting to read about in this book because they are very controversial and rarely talked about that I wanted to get a better understanding of these issues and how they all connected. It helps that I find psychology interesting too so I know that made me even more interested in finding out what happened next.

I also enjoyed reading this book because I found the point of view to be very interesting. In most books you tend to read, the story is told from the point of view of the main character because they are the ones mostly involved in the action throughout. But in this story you get the perspective of the psychiatrist Jenny and her family goes to see, whose view on the subject is obviously very different from the families because of his psychological background. I find it interesting because he’s the narrator you don’t expect but also he tells the story in a way for the reader to get a good understanding of what’s going on and why certain characters are acting a certain way. He’s pretty much in the head of all of the characters so the information you get from him is what he’s been told by his clients.

However, if I’m being honest here, Dr. Forrester is definitely not my favorite character. While I know the information presented to us is reliable, I still question the narrator’s perspective on what happened. Even though we know who committed this vile act, I still believe the narrator is pretty unreliable because he took some questionable actions in the story. While I understand why he did those things, those actions made it even harder to trust his character and actually made me dislike him even more. If I’m being honest here, I actually wanted him to be found out so that for once he got a taste of his own medicine.

The reason Dr. Forrester is my least favorite character in All Is Not Forgotten is because he’s a big douche. While his perspective in the book adds a good insight into the story, he comes across as being very arrogant. When explaining everything to the reader, he treats us like a child, which is something I really can’t tolerate. He also just acts like he’s the only person in the story who knows exactly what’s going on and who did it, which really gets on my nerves and frustrated me. Part of this arrogance comes from that he thinks he’s the best psychiatrist in town just because he seems to be the only one people there come to for their needs. So while I enjoyed reading this book because the content kept me interested in wanting to find out what happened next, Dr. Forrester’s character sometimes made it hard for me to want to continue reading.

Another issue I had with this book was the ending. I felt like the author choose an easy target to be the rapist in this story. While it made sense for this character to have committed the crime, I think the path the story was on before was a whole lot more interesting. I think having that person actually been responsible would’ve really made the story a whole lot more interesting to me because I could definitely picture him doing it. I also think it wouldn’t frustrate me quite as much because this character being the rapist just continues to feed Dr. Forrester’s big ego, which I honestly think needed to be taken down a couple pegs.

While I enjoyed reading All Is Not Forgotten, both of these issues made me enjoy the book less. But despite these issues, I thought this book was a great psychological read and find it to be a great segment into reading about more controversial topics.

Book Review: Daring Greatly

Daring Greatly Book Cover

Rating: 4 stars

Every day we experience the uncertainty, risks, and emotional exposure that define what it means to be vulnerable, or to dare greatly. Whether the arena is a new relationship, an important meeting, our creative process, or a difficult family conversation, we must find the courage to walk into vulnerability and engage with our whole hearts.

In Daring Greatly, Dr. Brown challenges everything we think we know about vulnerability. Based on twelve years of research, she argues that vulnerability is not weakness, but rather our clearest path to courage, engagement, and meaningful connection. The book that Dr. Brown’s many fans have been waiting for, Daring Greatly will spark a new spirit of truth—and trust—in our organizations, families, schools, and communities.

Daring Greatly gave me strength. It is a book that helped me sort through my thoughts and feelings with regards to some of the recent changes going on in my life. It helped me understand that being vulnerable is okay, acceptable even. That being vulnerable isn’t a weakness, but a person’s greatest strength in order to be open and loving towards other people.

This book was the book I needed to read after everything that happened. It not only allowed me to sort through some of my emotional feelings but opened up understanding within me.

Daring Greatly allowed me to understand many things. That being vulnerable is okay and that while being open and loving with people is hard, doing so leads you down the path of wholeheartedness. That I am brave, courageous, and all of the other things I struggle to believe I am. That I’m not alone because other people have the same doubts and fears I do.

What I loved about it is that Brown supports her hypothesis with twelve years of research on the topic. But at the same time, she uses some of her own personal experiences with shame, vulnerability and parenting to back up her years of research. She also writes in a way that makes sense to the reader so that they can understand the topic at hand.

She also writes on a variety of topics with regards to talking about vulnerability. She defines vulnerability but also talks about how both men and women experience it and the myths that surround our culture about being vulnerable. She talks about the walls we put up in order to keep vulnerability at bay and how we shrink at using that word to describe ourselves whenever we feel at our lowest.

Daring Greatly is a novel that talks about issues we as a society have a hard time being open about not only with ourselves but with the people we care about. It is a novel that challenges what we think and the way we express our emotions and feelings with the people closest to us. But it does so in a constructive way so that we can understand the way society has perceived us to feel about our emotions.

Daring Greatly is an enjoyable read that I recommend to anyone interested in opening up and interested in daring greatly.

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