Book Spotlight: The River of Forgetting by Jane Rowan



People don’t make up things like that for fun.

That’s what Jane’s therapist tells her when Jane reports fragmentary memories from her childhood that hint at sexual abuse. A busy, successful scientist, Jane at first fights the implications, but finally has to admit that something indeed happened. With help from a gifted therapist as well as creative arts, Jane taps into her own aliveness and reconciles with both her parents’ love and their betrayal.

This deeply personal memoir invites the reader behind the closed doors of the therapist’s office and into the author’s journal and her very body. Jane’s tender story shows how we can use the challenges of painful childhood traumas to transform our lives.

Read an excerpt!

Chapter 1: Pandora’s Box

The memory emerged from a dim corner of my mind, jolting me awake. It was a humid morning in August. The air flowed softly through the bedroom window, bringing in a catbird’s song from the cherry tree just outside. I sat up in bed and propped a pillow behind me, grabbed my spiral-bound journal from its place on the bedside table, and began scribbling:

I am three or four and I hurt between my legs. I’m perched on the toilet in the big bathroom in our house at Shell Beach. The door is opposite me and the light streams in from the window on my right.
I feel the sting when I pee. My mother says that I slipped in the bathtub and fell on the bathtub rim. I have no memory of anything that caused the hurt, but I know I don’t believe her story of how it happened.

Fear sank claws into my stomach. I wondered what had happened and who had hurt me.

No way. Surely not. Not my father. I don’t know how to tell what’s true. I don’t want to make things up.

This was Revelation Day, the day that started me on a long journey into my past. How did it happen that a 52-year-old woman suddenly woke up to the possibility of long-ago abuse? What had kept the issues at bay so long? Why could the past now grab me by the throat?

Read the reviews!

"...this memoir is poignant, heart-wrenching and almost poetic in its prose.  Sharing with us the story through poetry, dreams and narration, we are taken upon a journey with a family that loves even though the horrors are long forgotten."

--One Day at a Time

"Ms. Rowan writes her non-fiction book like a novel. It's a book so easy to read that one has nearly finished before it's realized. I had a hard time putting it down. The hours rushed by as I was caught up in her powerful and easy prose.

One of the most intriguing and significant books of its kind I've had the pleasure of reading and reviewing."

--Bookish Dame

"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."

--The Book Connection

"Well-written, interesting and brutally honest. This is a book that may be difficult for some to read, but it’s also an important story to understand the consequences of sexual assault on the victim. You really must read this one!"

--Reading Frenzy


Jane Rowan is a New England poet and writer. After teaching science for three decades in a private college, she retired to pursue the creative life. She has published numerous articles and the self-help booklet Caring for the Child Within—A Manual for Grownups, available through her website and through Amazon (Kindle). An excerpt from The River of Forgetting appeared in Women Reinvented: True Stories of Empowerment and Change. Visit Jane at www.janerowan.com  and find out more about her memoir at www.riverofforgetting.com.
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