My Lie: A True Story of False Memory [NOOK Book]


Praise for My Lie

"Meredith Maran is fearless. She's also a wonderful writer, and My Lie is a shockingly honest, stunningly nuanced book. Every parent, and everyone who has a parent, should read this searing father-daughter story."
Ayelet Waldman, author of Bad Mother and Red Hook Road

"My Lie is the brave and riveting 'inside story' of the most devastating mental health ...

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My Lie: A True Story of False Memory

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Praise for My Lie

"Meredith Maran is fearless. She's also a wonderful writer, and My Lie is a shockingly honest, stunningly nuanced book. Every parent, and everyone who has a parent, should read this searing father-daughter story."
Ayelet Waldman, author of Bad Mother and Red Hook Road

"My Lie is the brave and riveting 'inside story' of the most devastating mental health controversy of the century. I couldn't put it down."
Elizabeth F. Loftus, PhD, former president of the Association for Psychological Science; coauthor of The Myth of Repressed Memory

"Meredith Maran is a wonderful journalist and storyteller, profoundly honest, direct, witty, savvy, and compassionate."
Anne Lamott, author of Grace (Eventually) and Bird by Bird

"Only a writer as fierce and incisive as Meredith Maran could have written a book as intimate, dark, bracing, and revelatory as My Lie."
Michael Chabon, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay and Manhood for Amateurs

"This marvelous, searing book held me in its thrall from the moment I read the Prologue, and never let go. Meredith Maran has written a page-turner of a memoir, at once brave and heartbreaking. Who among us hasn't questioned her own memory? In navigating her family history, Maran becomes a detective, and My Lie reads like a mystery all the more suspenseful because the writer has taken great care to tell the truth."
Dani Shapiro, author of Devotion: A Memoir

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In this terrifying, haunting, and controversial memoir, award-winning journalist Meredith Maran delves into the fascinating subject of the recovered memory movement.... Maran's not just shockingly honest, she's also funny. Her refusal to whitewash her own behavior, her fierce ability to expose all sides of the issue (she doesn't deny that horrific abuse does occur and should be punished), and her compassion for the abused as well as those still falsely imprisoned as abusers opens up a dialogue about memory, belief, and past- and present-day culture that is as riveting as it is important." (Boston Globe, September 21, 2010)

"Maran's story is so tension-filled that I want to keep some of the twists out of this review, allowing readers of this remarkable book to discover them apart from me." (San Francisco Chronicle, September 19, 2010)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780470944837
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 11/5/2010
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 871,007
  • File size: 353 KB

Meet the Author

Meredith Maran is an award-winning journalist and the author of several best-selling nonfiction books, among them Dirty, Class Dismissed, and What It's Like to Live Now. Her work appears in anthologies, newspapers, and magazines including People, Self, Family Circle, More, Mother Jones, the San Francisco Chronicle, and A member of the National Book Critics Circle, she lives in Oakland, California.
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Table of Contents

Author's Note.

Prologue: The Same Thing Happened to Me.

Introduction: One in Three.

Part One 1576-1982.

Chapter One Desperate Housewife.

Chapter Two In Feminism We Trust.

Part Two 1983-1993.

Chapter Three Please Question Your Child (and Your Childhood).

Chapter Four Breaking the Silence.

Chapter Five Daddy Can't Come Home Again.

Chapter Six Remember.

Chapter Seven Did He or Didn't He?

Chapter Eight In Therapy We Trust.

Part Three 1994-2009.

Chapter Nine Doubt.

Chapter Ten Deprogramming.

Chapter Eleven What Was I Thinking?

Chapter Twelve Eternal Sunshine of the Recovered Mind.

Chapter Thirteen In Neuroscience We Trust.

Chapter Fourteen Amends.

Epilogue: Grace.


About the Author.

Book Group Reading Guide.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2010

    Measured and Compelling

    I can't remember the last time I stayed up far too late into the night for a book of non-fiction, but My Lie had me doing just that. From the title, I expected an intimate tell-all memoir, and I did get that. But I found it a surprisingly - and refreshingly - measured and balanced one. Part of what made this revelatory story so compelling was the mix of personal story with societal examination. Yes, there are children who were abused. But there are also families that were torn apart by 'memories" that never actually happened. Meredith Maran's intimate telling of her own personal story, mixed with considerable discussion of the science of the brain and press clips from sources including Time Magazine, The New York Times, and The Washington Post, puts the issue of "recovered memory" into a context that made me think, and want to know that which isn't, unfortunately, always knowable.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 5, 2010

    Excellent book about a difficult subject

    I tried to find this book in the library system in Massachusetts. It was not available. And so I bought it, received it promply and then read it in one sitting. Meredith Maran writes with honesty and compassion and a great deal of intelligence. Her research is extremely well done. She mentions The Courage to Heal by Bass and Davis and I suppose their advocates will not like that too much. She used their book to find memories of her childhood abuse by her father. She eventually decided that he did not abuse her and she was just another victim of the sexual abuse hysteria that is still going on. One of the most poignant legacies of her accusing her father of sexual abuse was her brother and his daughter. He was afraid to hug and get close to his daugher because of her accusation against their father. I think that problem is still with us. An accusation of sexual abuse is not a small thing. It looms large in the fabric of a family. And the hurt and horror go on and on. I pity a man who is falsely accused of sexually abusing his daughter. He is put into a hell not of his own making. And the way out depends on his daughter facing up to her mistake and trying to make it better. Meredith Maran has done this with her book. She is to be commended for facing her mistake honestly and rectifying it in the best way she can. And her father is pleased with her and that is a good outcome. He is a generous father. He knew we cannot undo our mistakes, but can only fix them the best we can. She did it with this book.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2010

    Terrible book

    I would not recommend this book. It appears she never had any specific memories like many abuse survivors. The book attacks the idea of recovered memory, yet there is a lot of research that backs up the idea and veracity of recovered memory. -- A brief on the Shanley case with information on memory can be found by searching for "BRIEF OF THE LEADERSHIP COUNCIL AS AMICUS CURIAE Shanleybrief" states "That the brain can avoid conscious recall of traumatic information has long been recognized by the American Psychiatric Association and the professional mental health community."

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 20, 2010

    A Nuanced and Detailed Account

    I enjoyed the narrative, confessional style of the writing. It was not written in a "sensational" way to leverage on "shock value," just with a flow of honesty and precision with analyzing the events of this "true story of false memory" (as the subtitle states).

    I thoroughly enjoyed the journalistic touch to the book, such as the media clippings in between the main text, and the fierce investigation for the facts (justified according to the criteria of the time being perpetuated as the truth, such as having symbolic dreams) behind the author's beliefs for having repressed memories. This eventually culminates in an admission on the author's part that she had perpetrated a devastating injustice upon her own family, as a result of this modern-day episode of mass hysteria.

    As I wrote in a comment on one of the reviews on Amazon, I do not think that Ms. Maran is speaking for people who have had genuine, recovered memories of abuse. This does not mean she does not care for these people, or discounts their memories entirely. The book is an account of [HER] LIE--a story of false memories, and believing that one was a victim of childhood sexual abuse, when in actual fact, one wasn't. She is sharing her experience, and people who went through this same "brainwashing"/"Planet Incest" experience, will be able to identify with her account. Nowhere in the book does she state that "and therefore, this means that those who did experience real sexual abuse, are all liars (because I realized I was falsely convincing myself into believing I'd had repressed memories of unspeakable childhood abuse)."

    The two situations are completely different, and should be clearly distinguished in a person's mind, before they accuse the author of being hypocritical towards those who truly did have recovered memories. What about those who, like the author, were subject to this mass hysteria, and led themselves to believe that they had repressed memories of childhood sexual abuse? Those are the people who have been through trauma as well--based on public psyche and the whole "sex-abuse panic."

    This book is one account of an individual who came to an eventual realization of the deception, and had the courage and clarity of conscience to take steps to rectify the damage she and her loved ones suffered, as a result of the deception (which was encouraged by psychologists/therapists of the time--such was the fashion, then). And it's a brave, intense, well-written account. It is evident that those who went through a similar experience appreciate this memoir.

    "My Lie: A True Story of False Memory"--there couldn't be a more accurate title and subtitle. Best wishes to Ms. Maran.

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