The Memory Box by Eva Lesko Natiello
ISBN: 9780692239001 (paperback)
ASIN: B00LAI2SV0 (Kindle version)
Publisher: Fine Line Publishing
Publication Date: June 25, 2014
What would you do if you Googled yourself and discovered something shocking?
In this gripping psychological thriller, a group of privileged suburban moms amuse themselves by Googling everyone in town, digging up dirt to fuel thorny gossip. Caroline Thompson, devoted mother of two, sticks to the moral high ground and attempts to avoid these women. She’s relieved to hear her name appears only three times, citing her philanthropy. Despite being grateful that she has nothing to hide, a delayed pang of insecurity prods Caroline to Google her maiden name—which none of the others know.
The hits cascade like a tsunami. Caroline’s terrified by what she reads. An obituary for her sister, JD? That’s absurd. With every click, the revelations grow more alarming. They can’t be right. She’d know. Caroline is hurled into a state of paranoia—upending her blissful family life—desperate to prove these allegations false before someone discovers they’re true.
The disturbing underpinnings of The Memory Box expose a story of deceit, misconceptions, and an obsession for control. With its twists, taut pacing, and psychological tenor, Natiello’s page-turning suspense cautions: Be careful what you search for.
Read an excerpt:
Chapter One Friday, September 22, 2006, 2:38 p.m. It’s impossible to un-know a secret. Once you know it, you own it. It can’t be returned like a borrowed book. Or burned like a love letter. The click of a mouse won’t delete it from the conscious mind. It’ll stick to the walls of your memory like dried oatmeal to a dish. The secrets you wish you never knew become a burden to lug. A bowling ball without holes.
Some people are great collectors of secrets. They roll around, like swine, in the muck of them. They gloat with pride to be the bearer of indelicate news.
I am not one of those people. I don’t want to pry into the backstories of others with a crowbar and a meat hook. What’s happened to privacy anymore? Nothing is private. Everything is knowable.
The thing about secrets is they’re mostly regrets, aren’t they? I mean, “good news” secrets aren’t really meant to be kept. Just the embarrassing, shameful kind. Everyone’s said or done something they wish they hadn’t. Maybe they were young and immature, or drunk, with temporary poor judgment. Do these things need to be broadcast? Should mistakes be tattooed on forearms?
The latest gossip around town is about a man whose daughter is in Lilly’s third-grade class. When he was young and drunk, he streaked through the dean’s backyard on a dare. Unfortunately for him, he was unaware of a ditch being dug and fell into it, breaking his fibula in the process, which left him stranded to sober up in a dark hole, waiting to be rescued in his birthday suit. One of our neighborhood snoops discovered this by Googling his name. Now this mature adult is living the shame all over again, as the gossipmonger moms of Lincoln Elementary pass their babble baton down a line of eager recipients. I’m surprised by how prevalent this rumor-wielding type is. Even in a place like Farhaven.
Practically everyone in town has been Googled by these women, who in turn cast out their questionable findings like a fistful of feed at the zoo. I make sure to smile warmly whenever I see this dad or any of the other gossip victims at school. It could be any of us. I wouldn’t want to be someone with something to hide in this town.
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