IN MY BEDROOM by Donna Hill


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Toxic memories, mental illness, painful recovery.

Rayne Holland is a “wonderful, caring person with a brilliant filmmaking career ahead of her.” Her emotionally wrenching documentary on incest victims garnered stellar reviews and important awards. Her marriage to handsome Paul has some problems—more on that later—but she loves her five-year-old daughter Desiree and her life in Savannah, Georgia, among the African-American intellectual elite. Lately, though, Rayne has been moody, troubled by nameless fears and a strange distractedness. And she’s not interested in sex, to Paul’s dismay. After she alone survives the car crash that kills her husband and daughter, she tries to kill herself and winds up in a mental institution. Suicidal, mute with shock, emotionally withdrawn—well, maybe she can recover in this safe haven, paid for by a seemingly limitless insurance plan. There is no shouting in this distinctly unreal haven, no lunatics running about in tattered gowns—in fact, none of that crazy-folks mess anywhere. Decorous patients stroll the beautifully landscaped paths, accompanied by kindly doctors. But why, asks her lifelong friend Gayle, won’t she speak? These things take time, replies Pauline Dennis, a compassionate psychologist right out of decades of TV dramas written for women, as she smoothes her immaculately starched white smock, musing silently on the powerful connection she feels to her new patient. Her interviews with Rayne’s family begin to uncover various secrets. There is Seething Resentment over Paul’s clandestine affair with Gayle, and Deep-Seated Guilt over her mother’s early death. There’s even Emotional Neglect and an Indifferent Father—but Dr. Dennis has a feeling there’s Something More. And a Terrible Secret comes to light: Rayne is an incest victim herself, sexually assaulted by her uncle. Will she ever find closure and heal the wounds of the past?

Well-meaning but wooden drama from Hill (An Ordinary Woman, 2002, etc.).

Pub Date: Jan. 21st, 2004
ISBN: 0-312-28193-5
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2003


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