My Lie: A True Story of False Memory
September 2010, Jossey-Bass
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MY LIE: A True Story of False Memory
At age 37, Meredith Maran—an award-winning journalist and mother of two—accused her father of sexual abuse. Ten years later she realized, nearly too late, that he was innocent. This is her wrenchingly honest, profoundly human account of living a daughter’s nightmare.
How could she make such a grievous mistake? Even more shockingly: how could tens of thousands of other accomplished, middle-class, thirty-something women like Maran have made the same one?
Throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s, a sex-abuse panic spread across the country, beginning with the infamous McMartin preschool trial that sent hundreds of innocents to jail—several of whom remain imprisoned today. During this time, untold numbers of Americans became convinced that they’d repressed memories of unspeakable childhood sexual abuse, and then recovered those memories in therapy. Fathers, grandfathers, uncles, even mothers were falsely accused. Families were—and remain—deeply wounded and even destroyed by it.
MY LIE is the story of this modern-day witch-hunt as it played out in one woman’s life and family. But it’s also a tightly wound psychological, cultural and neuroscientific portrait of America during this controversial and historic time. As Dr. Elizabeth Loftus (co-author of Witness For The Defense and The Myth Of Repressed Memory) said, “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.”
Michael Chabon (author of Manhood For Amateurs and The Amazing Adventures Of Kavalier & Clay) praised the book. “Only a writer as fierce and incisive as Meredith Maran could have written a book as intimate and revelatory as MY LIE.” And Kathryn Harrison (author of The Kiss and The Mother Knot) called it “A story no reader will—or should—forget.”