ABCs of ARCs

All is Not Forgotten

Wendy Walker

Posted: March 15, 2016

The A to Z of You and Me

To jump right in, All is Not Forgotten is a thriller—at least it’s supposed to be. I grabbed it off the ARC shelf in the backroom because of this very fact; thrillers tend to do well in terms of sales and customer liking, so it’s often handy to at least know about it. I haven’t quite read thrillers in the past, but I was looking forward to this one.

As a warning for those reading this and those interested in the book, it centers on a rape and it is often described in the book graphically and frequently.

The suspense is caused by the unknowing of who raped Jenny. Several suspects are thrown into our laps as we go through the book. It’s a simply plot with an unreliable narrator at the driver’s wheel, who plays not only with the reader, but with the characters he is treating. Jenny is given a memory-blocking “treatment” (which is actually a real-life thing currently being tested for PTSD and other situations like rape—really fascinating work). However, Jenny finds herself depressed, blocked, and it’s the narrator’s job to essentially untreat Jenny—bring back the memories so that she can heal and they can find the rapist.

Overall, it’s okay. There’s a plot, there’s some characters, although none are quite memorable and most are a bit stereotypical from the struggling solider to the dad with parental issues. And There are those out there who will enjoy this book: it’s very much a book club book for ladies gathered around their wine and cheese because there’s a lot to discuss, a lot of trigger points. However, it starts slow; despite it being in the middle of a crisis, but the book carries with a slow speed overall for a so-called thriller. I blame the narrator.

He’s my biggest problem with the book. The dryness in his voice doesn’t match the story nor does it make the thriller unique, just slow. Often, I find him arrogant—there’s a particular chapter where he very logically dissects his relationship with his wife. I understand this is who he is, it’s his job, we don’t have to like all characters, but it put me off from the entirety of the story. We’re held at arm’s length from the rest of the characters—they confess deep secrets to the man, but we never get a good feel for them. This is especially true for Jenny, which the whole situation is focused around. We see hardly any of her story or her general character. She pops up every so often just to give the narrator a memory to play with and then she’s gone again. She was used as just a victim and a plot point.

I don’t dislike this book, but I don’t quite like it either. There’s a lot of issues running through it from characters to plot to the end (oh if only I could spoil it), and I felt as though I have read this book already (never a good sign for a book not yet published). It’s pretty graphic for a read, which I didn’t expect (ARCS tend to be mysteries in themselves, lacking descriptions on the covers).

Still, once I read past the first few chapters, I kept reading. I did want to find out who the rapist was—I love twists and mysteries—so I chugged along into the night, waiting for the big reveal. And that’s just it; I waited. It was a passive read, like reading over notes, searching for the answer. Once I got to it, I wondered why I had bothered.