PAST FORGETTING by Jill Robinson


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A misty memoir of amnesia triggered by a swimming pool accident, and the slow, painful retrieval of memory. The swimming-pool episode was apparently caused by an epileptic seizure, and Robinson was to learn that she had suffered from undiagnosed epilepsy since she was a child. The daughter of writer/movie mogul Dore Schary, she grew up in southern California, where her schoolmates and playmates were the likes of Robert Redford. A career as a relatively successful novelist (Star Country, 1996, etc.) included two husbands and two children before she settled in London with her third spouse, the extaordinarily patient and understanding hero of this work. When Robinson wakes from a brief coma following the accident, she doesn—t know him. Although she accepts his and others’ word that this man is her husband, it’s apparently years before she is able to collate the memories of their mutual history. The Hollywood years are most vivid to the starstruck Robinson, and within the first 20 pages, there is mention of Dennis Hopper, Jane Fonda, and Cary Grant, with Barbra Streisand (a good friend), Erica Jong, Betty Friedan, Helen Gurley Brown, and others. Most interesting are descriptions of Robinson’s efforts to restore her memory, including reading her husband’s detailed journals of their years together and rereading her own books. She also keeps careful notes of day-to-day encounters, because she often cannot recall from one room to the next where she is or why she is there. She continues to write and never loses her ability to cook or her taste for clothes. A new doctor and new medication to control the seizures assist in her recovery. An intriguing but confusing view from inside the author’s head that would be considerably improved by observations from the likes of Barbra and Erica about their now-forgetful friend.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-06-019430-8
Page count: 288pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 1999


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