The dry and clinical narration of this story didn’t bother me too much, though I’ll admit it’s definitely not my favorite approach to storytelling. What really bothered me about this story was the content—and the narrator’s duplicity.
ALL IS NOT FORGOTTEN tells the story of Jenny Kramer, a 15-year-old girl who gets brutally raped. The doctors at the hospital recommend a treatment that erases short-term memories. Her parents agree—or rather, her mother, the dominant parent, puts her foot down, and the treatment is successful.
Alan, a clinical psychiatrist, tells the story through his sessions with Jenny, her parents, a detective, and another patient (whose presence in the story feels unnecessary and even a little gratuitous). None of the characters, even Jenny, leap off the page in that three-dimensional way we readers crave, and as the story progresses, the narrator’s voice becomes increasingly self-satisfying and creepy. Alan feels the need to tell readers that he’s not a bad guy, and he excuses his bad behavior by explaining it away like an armchair psychologist.
This is not a thriller. It’s slow-burning, but not in a good way. Jenny’s plight is devastating to witness, even on the page, because we know there are other girls like her out there, and we realize that she’s become the victim not only of her rapist, but of every adult in her life.
I can’t recommend ALL IS NOT FORGOTTEN. There’s not enough substance, in my opinion, to overcome the deficits in storytelling and characterization.