My Lie: A True Story of False Memory

My Lie: A True Story of False Memory

by Meredith Maran
     
 

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My Lie

"To admit a grave sin committed against a loved one is hard. To be able to write about it with honesty and grace is extraordinary. My Lie tells a story no reader will—or should—forget."
KATHRYN HARRISON, author of The Kiss

Meredith Maran lived a daughter's nightmare. At age thirty-seven, an award-winning journalist

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Overview

My Lie

"To admit a grave sin committed against a loved one is hard. To be able to write about it with honesty and grace is extraordinary. My Lie tells a story no reader will—or should—forget."
KATHRYN HARRISON, author of The Kiss

Meredith Maran lived a daughter's nightmare. At age thirty-seven, an award-winning journalist and mother of two, she accused her father of sexual abuse. Ten years later she realized, nearly too late, that he was innocent.

She wasn't alone. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, beginning with the infamous McMartin preschool trial, a sex-abuse panic spread across the country. Tens of thousands of Americans became convinced that they'd repressed memories of unspeakable childhood sexual abuse. Preschool teachers, fathers, even mothers were falsely accused. Communities and families were devastated. Some perpetrators were rightly punished, but hundreds of innocents were sent to jail. Several remain imprisoned today.

Maran's accusation and estrangement from her father caused her sons to grow up without their only grandfather, dividing her family into those who believed her and those who didn't. She isolated herself on "Planet Incest," where "survivors" flocked to therapy—devoting their lives, and life savings, to "recovering" memories of events that had never occurred.

This no-holds-barred excavation of Maran's past raises questions of vital importance to us all. How did Maran, and so many others, come to believe the same lie at the same time? How does the brain collude with the culture to create false memories and encode false beliefs? What are the "big lies" gaining traction in America today—and how can we keep them from taking hold?

My Lie is the wrenchingly honest, profoundly human story of the impact of this modern-day witch hunt on one woman's life and family: a daughter's search for understanding; a journalist's intimate portrait of a shameful episode in American history.

"I accused my father of molesting me. I didn't see him or talk to him for eight years. I didn't let my kids see him for eight years, either. And then I realized that it wasn't true."

". . . my eighty-year-old father had been diagnosed with atherosclerosis, diabetes, depression, and Alzheimer's disease. With the possible exception of the diabetes, I blamed myself for all of it."

". . . suddenly, pretending it hadn't happened wasn't an option anymore."
From the Prologue

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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)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780470944837
Publisher:
Wiley
Publication date:
11/05/2010
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
852,153
File size:
0 MB

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
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, author of Manhood for Amateurs; and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

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

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, co-author of Witness for the Defense and The Myth of Repressed Memory

To admit sin is hard. To own a grave sin committed against a loved one is more difficult still. To be able to write about it with honesty and grace is extraordinary. My Lie by Meredith Maran tells a story no reader will—or should—forget.
KATHRYN HARRISON, author of The Kiss and The Mother Knot

Meredith Maran is fearless, 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 Love and Other Impossible Pursuits

"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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