Thursday, June 23, 2011

Book Review: The River of Forgetting by Jane Rowan

In this brave and touching memoir, Jane Rowan shares her journey through the healing process of recovering from childhood sexual abuse; a past she knew nothing about until vague, foggy memories began invading her mind.

The River of Forgetting: A Memoir of Healing from Sexual Abuse opens with a moving Prologue and Introduction that set the scene for all that is to come. A successful scientist and professor, she was unprepared for the memories to come flooding back, not able to reconcile the past she was discovering to what she had grown up believing about her family. Yes, she knew things were a bit off. She had always called her parents by their first names, she had a sister with Down syndrome that was quietly tucked away in a home and never spoken of to others, and her extended family--grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins--were distant; but she had a normal childhood. Didn't she? 

When the first memory appears during a therapy session, her therapist assures her, "People don’t make up things like that for fun." This first memory puts Rowan on a journey to come to terms with her past, using Inner Child work, journal writing, painting, and dancing.

The River of Forgetting is an intense story. It's not one you read and just move onto the next book in your stack. It's impossible for me, as someone who had a less than ideal childhood, not to compare some of Rowan's experiences with my own. Granted, there wasn't the level of abuse that Rowan endured, but there is an amount of neglect that has followed me to this day; something I unsuccessfully attempted to deal with over 10 years ago in therapy. I had tried Inner Child work, but couldn't reach what I needed to get me through.

The reader spends time with Rowan in the therapist's office, the studio, in group sessions, at home and at family events. This well-written, powerful memoir dives deeply into those years when the past collided with the present. It discusses how during a portion of her journey, problems at work and mysterious threatening postcards and letters pushed her to the edge. At times I was a bit uncomfortable with the intimate relationship between Rowan and her therapist, but then I got to wondering if my own therapy wasn't successful because I couldn't connect with my therapist in such a meaningful way. These women tackled some tough issues together, and it was important for Rowan to feel Sarah's love and support throughout the entire process.

The River of Forgetting inspires with poetry, journal writing, and a poignant narrative. As readers follow Rowan's transformation, they too will be encouraged to find the peace and joy they deserve.

Title: The River of Forgetting
Author: Jane Rowan
Publisher:  Booksmyth Press
ISBN-10: 0981583024
ISBN-13: 978-0981583020
SRP:  $14.95 (Also available in a Kindle edition)

I received a copy of this book from the author and was paid to promote this book with a virtual book tour through Pump Up Your Book. That fee did not include a review. This review contains my honest opinions, for which I received no monetary compensation.


Jane Rowan said...

Thank you for your honest review. I appreciate that you mention the things that made you uncomfortable as well as the good stuff.

Cheryl said...

Thanks for stopping by Jane. I applaud you having the courage to share your story. I'm a fairly open person, but I don't think I could have written about such an experience.

I'm glad you decided to share your story and hope many will be helped by it.

Wishing you the best,


Deb said...

Hi, Cheryl,
I'm so happy to read your review which really gives credit to Jane Rowan's story. Please stop by my blog to read my views on her book, as well. I appreciate your being a follower, too.
Thanks for understanding my delay.