Two Weeks Since My Last Confession is a novel by Kate Genovese. It is a family saga, featuring the O’Briens from Boston, Massachusetts. On the face of things, the O’Briens are an upstanding pillar of the community. John O’Brien is a politician, a senator no less, and a respected and long-term incumbent to boot. Marie, Mrs. O’Brien is a devout Catholic with five children. She is determined that they should be raised in such a way that ensures they develop values and respect rules. She fails.
The story centres on two siblings of the O’Brien household, and sets their stories in parallel, spanning three decades up to the 1980s. Molly and Sean are separated by several years, Sean being the older. Molly is the more impetuous of the two, Sean, in his own way, the less predictable. Things at home turn very sour indeed when Molly claims she is sexually abused by her brother. She complains to her mother, who blames her daughter for raising such ideas in the hothouse of her over-active imagination. She tells her father, who seems to be equally dismissive, being always more interested in the preservation of his own privilege and public face. It is only a long time later that she learns her father did, indeed, speak to Sean. They are words that the boy resents, for he has no recollection of having done anything.
Essentially, Two Weeks Since My Last Confession deals with the on-going consequences of these reactions which, at the time, were generated for merely rational reasons, their intended consequences designed to heal rather than harm. Events are described from the individual perspectives of the two children, Molly and Sean.
The O’Briens are shot through with tension, hypocrisy, deceit and, indeed, corruption. They are perhaps a fairly standard family beneath the sheen of respect. When the lad misbehaves, his senator father pulls strings so that nothing will come of the issue and, importantly, there will be no record kept. The senator is a rampant womanizer and two timer; his clearly unhappy wife thus trapped in a marriage her religion would never contemplate ending. Sean gets up to some pretty naughty things before, during and after his tour of duty in Vietnam, but the experience of war does change him, so that his life is transformed. As he matures, he begins to understand and come to terms with the origin of the psychological demons that have haunted him since boyhood.