TRY TO REMEMBER by Zane Kotker


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 A woman's imagined memories of sexual abuse nearly tear her family apart--in a disappointingly strident fourth novel by Kotker (White Rising, 1981, etc.). Phoebe Fairchild, a sensitive young woman who aspires to be a documentary filmmaker, becomes unsettled when her younger sister Bess arrives to stay with her in New York. Phoebe has always felt competitive with beautiful, vibrant Bess, and when a relationship with a troubled and vaguely abusive boyfriend plunges Phoebe into an even deeper depression, she turns to therapy for help. Unfortunately, her therapist, the selfish and manipulative Sahra Meehan, has her own agenda: She not only wants to advance her career but to further her romance with a well-known psychiatrist who's done work on recovered memory. At Sahra's bidding, Phoebe begins to ``remember'' episodes of sexual abuse by her father-- first only isolated incidents, then a long pattern of abuse. Eventually, Phoebe confronts her parents, Harvey and Claire, with the information; and, when they deny everything, she breaks off contact. Devastated, the Fairchilds begin to question what they did wrong in raising their daughters. Meanwhile, Phoebe tries to enlist Bess in support of her story, but her sister is skeptical and prefers to continue her quintessentially GenX existence, taking off for the Pacific Northwest in a van paid for with her parents' money. It's never quite clear why Phoebe, a well-educated, self-aware adult, is so thoroughly gullible, but when she refuses to back down--and Sahra pushes her relentlessly to reveal more--the tension will have some unhappy consequences. Kotker has a real gift for portraying family dynamics, but, here, her talents are overshadowed by her movie-of-the-week material.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-679-44042-9
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 1997