100 Days of Memoirs to Nourish the Soul for Social Distancing Memoir Bookclub

Social Distancing Memoir Bookclub During Coronavirus Times

100 Days of Memoirs to Nourish the Soul

DAY 89: June 18, 2020

Denial

by Jessica Stern

Hailed by critics and readers alike, Jessica Stern's riveting memoir examines the horrors of trauma and denial as she investigates her own unsolved adolescent sexual assault at the hands of a serial rapist. Alone in an unlocked house, in a safe suburban Massachusetts town, two good, obedient girls, Jessica Stern, fifteen, and her sister, fourteen, were raped on the night of October 1, 1973.

The rapist was never caught. For over thirty years, Stern denied the pain and the trauma of the assault. Following the example of her family, Stern; who lost her mother at the age of three, and whose father was a Holocaust survivor; focused on her work instead of her terror. She became a world-class expert on terrorism and post-traumatic stress disorder who interviewed extremists around the globe. But while her career took off, her success hinged on her symptoms. After her ordeal, she no longer felt fear in normally frightening situations.

Stern believed she'd disassociated from the trauma altogether, until a dedicated police lieutenant reopened the case. With the help of the lieutenant, Stern began her own investigation to uncover the truth about the town of Concord, her own family, and her own mind. The result is Denial, a candid, courageous, and ultimately hopeful look at a trauma and its aftermath.

Yearning for Magic

COPYRIGHT MELISSA BURCH, 2020