This is one of those books which came first and influenced many authors along the way. The beginning was quite interesting, and even the middle was wrThis is one of those books which came first and influenced many authors along the way. The beginning was quite interesting, and even the middle was written well enough to keep me wondering hey, will this ever turn into something like an actual coherent plot? But no. You think this is about a post apocalyptic society? Or even an abbey within a larger setting? And you'll get to hear a lot about what fallout does to people? And how societies evolve? Nah. You get to hear about people who live in an abbey which apparently is holding the last artifacts of the prior earth for the future smart people to use.. but lets not get into any specifics of how or anything. Lets not explain anything at all. I speed read the last third, which reads like the author was getting progressively drunk as he wrote the story. Don't bother....more
I save 5 star reviews for life changing books and this was not that, however this book is more than 4 stars. I read this within five days and skippedI save 5 star reviews for life changing books and this was not that, however this book is more than 4 stars. I read this within five days and skipped work to do it. Unique, captivating, a mystery and really well written. I greatly appreciated the lack of teenage love triangles, tropes or stereotypes, and the atmosphere and pacing kept me just coming back. I look forward to the prequels and I pray the film is true to the book in all ways and not teenage the actors or create some nonsense. The emotional aspects of this story are well crafted. ...more
Patricia McKillip has a certain voice, and this book is no exception. One of her earliest, I enjoyed it a lot. More a mystery than anything it was verPatricia McKillip has a certain voice, and this book is no exception. One of her earliest, I enjoyed it a lot. More a mystery than anything it was very interesting trying to figure out what was going on. I hope the next book is good as well....more
"This book is the fruit of thirty years of trying to understand how people deal with, survive, and heal from traumatic experiences. Thirty years of cl"This book is the fruit of thirty years of trying to understand how people deal with, survive, and heal from traumatic experiences. Thirty years of clinical work with traumatized men, women and children; innumerable discussions with colleagues and students, and participation in the evolving science about how mind, brain, and body deal with, and recover from, overwhelming experiences."
Trauma is the health issue of our time. This book is incredibly thorough, well spoken and written from the perspective of someone with over thirty years experience helping people who have PTSD and Complex PTSD (or DTD, Developmental Trauma Disorder, a diagnosis for which this book is essentially an argument to have introduced to the DSMV. A diagnosis which would have helped me as a child presumably receive help and treatment and care.)
I honestly think that everyone should read this book. We live in a world where complex trauma affects a huge amount of our human population. Stemming from as diverse sources as long term child abuse, to growing up in war zones or poverty stricken areas, as well as the more traditional understanding of PTSD as a condition which affects veterans (of which we have countless).. this book is widely applicable.
What I as a person who lives with the effects of complex long term child abuse loved about this book was the dignity and compassion throughout. Mr. van der Kolk has been forefront at the advancement of the science and therapy used to treat those with PTSD and its variations. He's seen it firsthand, and is really as close to it as you can be without having lived through it yourself. He covers so many topics which all come back to complex trauma. From the origins of "shell shock" and early wars, through the history of this undeniable human issue, we are shown what it's like (as much as is truly possible) to be on the inside of a person with PTSD, CPTSD/DTD, and other issues which stem from trauma. The entire first third of the book is about the neuroscience behind what it is to have your survival instincts so haywire from your childhood experiences that you seem "crazy" to others. It's a wholly indescribable experience, and this book stresses the fact that the majority of those who suffer literally cannot speak in certain circumstances, that the brain does not fire. This is only one symptom, and this book goes into such depth and breadth I think this could be a textbook on this subject. Certainly all people who work with mental health, children, and veterans must read this book. Trauma is a cause for a huge swath of disorders and issues for which we as a society have very little overarching understanding. The common thread of trauma throughout provides a way of looking at all of these issues under a larger form. And the thing is, trauma is preventable. It really is. Read this and see the cyclical nature of what we do as a species. As is the last line in the book: "Trauma is now our most urgent public health issue, and we have the knowledge necessary to respond effectively. The choice is ours to act on what we know."
If you're reading this review and are dealing with the effects of complex trauma, I highly recommend Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving as a start to recovery. It's written from the perspective of a therapist and survivor of long term child abuse, and has vital information from cover to cover about how to deal with the overwhelming and generally horrible existence that can be life with CPTSD. I am glad I read it before I read this book, and was able to implement some of it's advice and knowledge in my own life. This book is vital as well, and they compliment each other.
I wanted to do 3.5 stars. This is an exciting and suspenseful story, hampered slightly by the sure knowledge that the guy WILL be okay. Because this iI wanted to do 3.5 stars. This is an exciting and suspenseful story, hampered slightly by the sure knowledge that the guy WILL be okay. Because this is not ASOIAF where the main narrator gets beheaded. What I liked about this story was the true ingenuity and cleverness of the protagonist. However this also is what I did not like about this story. This has to be the least introspective or thoughtful person who could have been put in this situation. I had thought that maybe after being isolated for this long period of time he might have, like, ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD to think about stuff beyond his own situation and ponder the philisophical and ethical and existential states of the reality of being the only person on a planet for many months. However, none of this is part of the story, so the story became extremely repetitive in the following manner: problem, clever dude fixes problem. over and over. not broken up with any stream of consciousness or really any thought process at all of the protag (or any of the other people) which made me honestly not care at all if the guy made it back or not. I do not know if this is intentional, so that the "nerds" who will buy this book can project themselves onto Mark Watney a la Bella Swan, or if it's just how Andy Weir wrote the character and maybe I'm just being picky. But really. I didn't care about the character because beyond his Macguyver reincarnation, there's very little you know about the guy. I can see why this would work, because sometimes character development doesn't really seem necessary, but how am I supposed to care if this guy survives if all I have to go on is his excited narration (think, you're sitting at a bar and the protagonist is telling you the play by play of his experience, not what I would consider a prose based narrative, everything feels like you're being TOLD by Mark's monologue (which of course, it is, as a log) as opposed to, like, most other books. To me, I found this obnoxious and condescending, but I know many people like that style so I'm writing that off to my own preference and not Weir's lack of ability to write.)
One thing I wanted to also note was, this book is not funny. The "black" sense of humor from Watney is mentioned in three or four bylines on the cover as well as inside. I got the impression that Watney would be funny. But I don't find snark or sarcasm funny. Nor did I find his jokes to be particularly black. Black humor takes a certain dryness which this story lacks entirely (beyond it's setting of course, ha ha.)
Anyhow. I think this is one of those that people will love or hate. I heard the audiobook is more engaging, which makes sense since it's 80% one person excitedly talking. Dealing with adversity with a level head and clever ideas this book has in droves. Dealing with the psychological toll something like being marooned on Mars would cause is literally not mentioned at all. Sure, he's a bit shocked when he finally sees another person, but that's about it.
I hope Matt Damon does a good nerd impression....more
This book only contains perhaps three decent stories, including the second to last by Charles DeLint. The rest are racist, sexist, boring, and repetitThis book only contains perhaps three decent stories, including the second to last by Charles DeLint. The rest are racist, sexist, boring, and repetitive. I was quite disappointed....more
ALL the stars. This book should be read by everyone alive. Everyone knows someone like the person this book is addressing. Most people don't know whatALL the stars. This book should be read by everyone alive. Everyone knows someone like the person this book is addressing. Most people don't know what to look for, and abusers are masters at manipulation, even if you did. This book and supporting works should be the focus of a class for all people age 13, and again when graduating high school, and again in college for those who don't get it. The points made in this book can literally fix the majority of the issues facing our society today. Things I liked specifically (there are many reviews of this book out there.) - The way it is written is clear and empowering. The editing and pacing and repetition of key points hammers home the concept that the abused woman is NOT at fault, does NOT cause the abuse perpetrated by her partner, and is worthy of respect and an abuse-free life. - Bancroft addresses the key thought process' used by abusers to both justify to themselves their harm and how they get away with it in public. He also addresses privilege, which is a cornerstone of an abusers thinking, as well as a large proportion of the cultural attitudes and messages which allow and encourage abusive men to grow up and into the actively abusive people they are. - Bancroft has fifteen years experience with abusive men, running a program for abusive men which addresses their thought processes and tries to educate them so they can change. This book is written for others who run these types of programs as well, and he makes sure to address his issues (and things to look for) when it comes to other alternatives like couples therapy, therapy for the abused man, and other issues in the legal system which an abused woman will more than likely have to deal with. - The fact that the way abused men think and operate is no different than the way larger groups are marginalized and abused by various powers in the world. The fact that if we as a society work towards eradicating this problem, specifically, due to the nature of this task, it will deal with the majority of societal problems we struggle with as a whole. Abuse is a solvable problem, which means these larger problems caused by growing up in abusive households or environments, being modeled abusive behaviors, passing these issues on to the next generations, these things will all be addressed and major change can happen. - The fact that Bancroft addresses specifically the entitlement and justification behind the thought process of the abuser, and how this aligns with the entitlement and justification behind the larger cultural examples of oppression, marginalization, long term abuse, and in many cases murder/war. The parallels are obvious, and this book was key in my own understanding of these concepts, both in my own life and the world at large.
Read it. Buy it for everyone you know, everyone you care about. Because you never know who could use it, and you're probably going to be surprised by how many people you know who are like the men this book addresses.