Picks and Pans Review: A Father Falsely Accused

updated 10/04/2010 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/04/2010 AT 01:00 AM EDT

In 1988 journalist Meredith Maran accused her father of having molested her as a young girl. Eight years later she realized it wasn't true. In My Lie Maran, 59 (who has reviewed books for PEOPLE), explains.

WHY DID YOU THINK YOU'D BEEN ABUSED?

It was incest-mania in the culture. Oprah came out as a survivor, Roseanne. Incest is a lot more common than people had believed. I was reporting on survivors and started having very real nightmares of being molested. I thought they were flashbacks.

WHAT DID YOU DO?

I told my brother; he believed me. My mom was devastated. Finally my father-they were divorced-was outraged. We didn't speak for years.

HOW DID YOU DECIDE YOU WERE WRONG?

Women were "recovering" things so outlandish-Satanic rituals-that I thought, well, are my stories true? I realized I had no real memories of abuse.

DID YOU APOLOGIZE?

Yes. My dad said he understood why I'd said it, that he had been a very imperfect father. Can you imagine, after all I put him through?

AND YOUR MOM?

I don't think she's ever forgiven me, but we're working on it.

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