Every now and then I find a book that I can’t put down. Equally infrequently I find a book that is painful to read, either because it is so realisticEvery now and then I find a book that I can’t put down. Equally infrequently I find a book that is painful to read, either because it is so realistic and the material is difficult for me to get through or because the book is not very well written. Shelter: A Novel by Frances Greenslade was painful for me to read and it fell into the realistic category. There is no doubt about it that Greenslade is a talented writer, but a book written about two girls who have what seems to them like a happy family that implodes within a year is gritty and you keep wanting something to change for them. There is little redemptive value or a-ha moment coming from the clouds and throughout the novel I found myself wishing that I could quit the book because it just didn’t seem fair that so much could happen to two people.
Maggie and Jenny are two sisters whose parents do not have much, but there is a lot of love in the family. Their father is a logger and dies in a freak logging accident, which sends their mother into a tailspin. In her unsuccessful attempt to keep them together, she gives them to friends of their father’s and makes some decisions that affect all of their lives forever. When she suddenly stops writing to them and sending money to their foster parents, Maggie and Jenny are left wondering what happened to her and, worst of all, was it their fault? Shelter takes us through their brief journey to discover what happened during those years and to learn where their mother went when she abandoned them. Most of all, their journey to discover why is one that is fraught with emotion. This is a dramatic novel and, with such well done writing, I found it difficult to look upon the characters with detachment. It is not for the faint of heart.
I received a copy of this book for free in order to review it on my blog. All thoughts on this book are honest and my own. ...more
In Understanding Combat Related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder by Walter F. McDermott I found an open portrayal of Combat Related Post Traumatic StresIn Understanding Combat Related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder by Walter F. McDermott I found an open portrayal of Combat Related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder told in a way that was meant for families of the afflicted to gain a better understanding of what was happening to their loved one.
Written from a clinical perspective, layman’s terms were used to define clinical terms and to help families decipher information that doctors and psychologists might be throwing at them. Symptoms (both common and unusual) were soundly described. From a professional perspective, the information was a meta-analysis of the literature, the DSM-IV criteria and a brief synopsis of the ways that families encounter the disorder and reasons why soldiers respond to it the way they do. It is a primer for those unfamiliar with the disorder and who are looking for a foundation in understanding. From a personal perspective, the book was informative and is meant to soothe the nerves of someone who may feel shattered from what they perceive as the loss of the personality of their loved one. I processed the book in a way that read as if it were meant to help family members grieve a bit for what their soldier was going through while also seeking help on their own for how the PTSD was affecting them. I view this as a healthy way to work through PTSD.
Overall, the book was clinically written, but should be understandable for most with a high school reading level. It is not an easy read, but it’s not a long book. I read it best by taking it a chapter at a time and really processing the information before moving on; however, someone who is in this situation or has someone in this situation may choose to devour it. It’s a matter of personal preference. I would feel good about recommending this book to others who might be struggling with Combat-related PTSD themselves or have a family member or friend who was dealing with it. I received this book for free in exchange for an open, honest review of the material. ...more