Spectral Evidence by Moira Johnston
The Ramona Case: Incest, Memory, and Truth on Trial in Napa Valley

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Spectral Evidence is the story of the Ramona family of Napa Valley, whose outward appearance of apple-pie all-American success was destroyed by allegations of child sexual abuse brought by the oldest daughter, Holly, her mother, and Holly's therapists against her father, Gary. These allegations were based on memories recovered through the efforts of the therapists, who were subsequently sued by Gary Ramona for malpractice. The book builds with accounts of the not-always-conventional postwar families of Gary and Stephanie Ramona, through Gary's rise to prominence in the wine industry, to the awful day that twenty-year-old Holly was overcome by a vivid recollection of her father in bed with her at age eight. From that point, beginning with a powerfully rendered confrontation between Gary and his wife and daughter, to the dramatic conclusion of the first trial, where malpractice is alleged regarding recovered memory, readers witness a dynamic and emotional family drama.

About Moira Johnston

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Johnston is a veteran investigative journalist. She founded Friends of the Napa Valley, an environmentalist group.
Published May 26, 1997 by Houghton Mifflin. 440 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Education & Reference, Parenting & Relationships, Law & Philosophy, Health, Fitness & Dieting, Science & Math. Non-fiction

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Her research into memory science is meticulous, and she does a brilliant job of presenting both sides to this story, presenting Gary as not the best of fathers, but no rapist, and Stephanie as a weak-willed trophy wife whose long-brewing anger at Gary found its expression in incest accusations.

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Publishers Weekly

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Gary Ramona's 1994 lawsuit against therapists Marche Isabella and Richard Rose was a landmark in the intense debate over recovered memory, and ""a chilling warning to the entire profession of psychotherapy,"" argues Johnson in this hard-driving report.

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Boston Review

Spectral Evidence tells the sad and disturbing story of Holly Ramona, a woman who as a young adult claimed to have remembered experiences of childhood incest, and who subsequently became the protagonist in a therapeutic malpractice lawsuit in California.

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