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The Blood on My Hands: An Autobiography

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  71 ratings  ·  36 reviews
Set in 1960s and '70s Australia, "The Blood on My Hands" is the dramatic tale of Shannon O'Leary's childhood years. O'Leary grew up under the shadow of horrific domestic violence, sexual and physical abuse, and serial murder. Her story is one of courageous resilience in the face of unimaginable horrors.

The responses of those whom O'Leary and her immediate family reach out
Paperback, 258 pages
Published February 3rd 2016 by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
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4.20  · 
Rating details
 ·  71 ratings  ·  36 reviews

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I have no idea how to review this horrific tale of abuse – the stories author Shannon O’Leary tells are probably just the tip of a very large iceberg, but what she does tell has me blown away by the lack of help; from friends and family, from the nuns (who blamed the children for telling “lies”) and most of all from the police. The fact that the laws of the 1960s and 1970s forbade their “interference” unless the person making the complaint was killed is nothing short of astounding!

Aussie author
Carol -  Reading Writing and Riesling
Apr 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
My View:
A particularly horrific and grim story of ongoing domestic violence and psychosis that is not addressed in the perpetrator’s lifetime – this is a uncomfortable book to read - imagine what it must have been like to endure? And endure Shannon O’Leary and her family did – the depravity here is unbelievable - if the author hadn’t qualified the read with “autobiography” you would think this was macabre crime fiction.
To enjoy or not to enjoy? No I can’t say I enjoyed this read – the wounds, p
Jun 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
For fans of the serial killer genre, this shattering autobiography by the child of a real-life mass-murderer will be absolutely unforgettable. Set in Australia, the book begins with the author’s birth in 1959, and continues through her father’s death in 2009 as a free and unpunished man. Complete with research citations, and set within the context of Australian society throughout the decades, The Blood on My Hands is not for the squeamish. Every imaginable emotion is seemingly laid bare, as the ...more
Jessyca Garcia
Feb 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The book “The Blood on My Hands: An Autobiography” by Shannon O'Leary is a powerful, dark memoir. In her memoir O’Leary tells how she and her family suffered from an abusive father with a multiple personality disorder. O’Leary actually witnessed her father murder people and animals. No one, not even the authorities, would help O’Leary and her family. This is O’Leary’s story about how the eventually got away from her father but never truly escaped him or his heinous acts.

My first thought after r
May 23, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
The Blood on My Hands is a true story about the abuse suffered by the author and her family.

Shannon's father seems to have multiple personalities which leads him to be violent and abusive, mainly to Shannon and her mum.

There are some parts that are quite horrific, mainly when her father is brutally getting rid of women's bodies that he has killed. Some parts certainly make for uncomfortable reading.

It is obvious that Shannon's father has a lot of mental health issues but unfortunately no matt
Liza Perrat
Jul 12, 2017 rated it liked it
A difficult read, not only for the harrowing subject matter.
Jan 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
“I have felt the cold steel of a gun in my mouth and against my temple.”

From the opening line of the prologue, I knew this was going to be a book that would evoke deep emotions of sadness and anger in me. To say I enjoyed this book somehow seems wrong, so what I will say is, I was deeply moved by O’Leary’s story.

I don’t often read autobiographies but I’m drawn to these books because no matter how many I read, I have to know how and why these events were able to occur with no one intervening. I d
Judith A.
Nov 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are monsters all around us; this book is proof of that. The author did an amazing job in recounting the events, writing from her memories as a child who is lucky to be alive.
I will not go into detail about the content; too many others have done so and I hate spoilers.
I did not see any grammar or spelling errors, and the author added footnotes describing Australian slang, native species, and even descriptions of literature quoted or cited (i.e. "Heidi"). I found this all very helpful.
As a
Mar 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
5 stars

Huge thanks to Shannon O'Leary, Book Publicity Services and NetGalley for this copy in exchange for an honest review.

Once I picked this up I could not put it down, I needed to see how they got away from the monster who called himself their father, who called himself a husband.

The horrific mental, physical and sexual abuse he committed on his wife and the author over their time with him is abhorrent. Her brothers didn't fair much better and I wish I could've taken them all away from it.

andrew y
Jun 24, 2017 rated it liked it
I'll choose my words carefully. This is clearly written by someone who suffered unimaginably as a child and I think to put it on paper took courage and was certainly therapeutic. This isn't the sort of feel-good emotional horror memoirs in the vein of A Child Called It - this is horrific in a gut-wrenching, often unbelievable way. I don't recommend reading this but recognize that someone took the time to write a book that reminds us of the fact that abuse isn't an inspirational fable.
Apr 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
THE BLOOD ON MY HANDS is a very personal story, told by Shannon O'Leary, recounting a childhood that truly could be said was hellish. A violent, mentally ill father, an extended family wrapped up in concern about their "good name", vicious or uncaring authorities, and police neglect that is positively staggering, combine in this tale to create a story that's incredibly difficult to read.

When reviewing this book it's really important to stress that the review is not of the life, or the story itse
Seton Rae
Mar 14, 2016 rated it liked it
A chilling memoir of one young girl's experiences at the hands of her abusive, psychotic father, "The Blood on My Hands" is an effectively horrifying tale. Shannon O'Leary offers vivid descriptions of a family under siege in the isolated Australian bush, and her detailed account is convincing. However, an editor's note confirms that there is little evidence to corroborate this "true" story, which may leave the reader feeling dissatisfied.
Nov 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Take a box and make sure that it has a secure lid on it and that the outside is fortified so that no one can ever break it. Make sure that this box is made of a heavy steal and that only you can open it from the inside to let yourself out. Living in fear and never having a proper childhood, Shannon O’Leary lived a life of abuse from the day she was born. Hoping to escape the hand of a father who was demented, sadistic and sick she should have placed herself and her brothers inside this heavy met ...more
David Savage
Sep 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Blood on My Hands is the autobiography of Shannon O’Leary (the author has used pseudonyms in the book order to protect her family) about the horrific childhood she endured where the authorities of the time did nothing and the abuse didn’t stop for 49 years.

Shannon O’Leary grew up in 1960’s and 70’s Australia in a Catholic family and was subjected to horrific brutal psychical and sexual abuse, psychological abuse and witnessing domestic abuse and serial murder. This book tells her true story.
Margaret Chadwick
Oct 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I would like to thank the publisher and Shannon O'Leary for allowing me to receive this book. The synopsis made me very intrigued about this book and that is why I opted to receive this for review but I must be honest and say that I was unsure that I would enjoy this book as I have also swayed towards fiction novels. However, as this book seemed extremely interesting I thought that I would give an autobiography a chance and I was not disappointed. This autobiography shares many horrific events t ...more
C.C. Hrivnak
Nov 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc
I have a more in-depth review on my blog here: https://charmedbookhavenreviews.wordp...

**Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my view whatsoever.**

Some of the most devastating/fascinating stories are not fiction. In fact, some may not be too far from your own backyard. A few months ago, I received an email from author Shannon O’Leary about her novel. I have read through it three times since and finally here to write abo
Rayleen Mace
May 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a harrowing read about a family basically held hostage mentally and physically by a controlling sadist. Anyone could speculate about what this family should have done and when and how...but ultimately their choices kept them alive.
What courage it takes to write a book like this one especially since the tale is so disturbing, one can't help but hope it's exaggerated. However, that knee jerk reaction (i.e. this can't be true) is the same one that keeps victims isolated, mistrusted, and bla
Jan 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is an absolutely horrific book.
Shannon O’ Leary grew up in Australia during the 1960’s. She lived with her mum, brothers and her dad. Patrick O’ Leary has a split personality disorder, is abusive towards his family and a killer. Shannon O’ Leary watched him kill women on more than one occasion.
I truly admire her mother, for eventually leaving her husband and also forever trying to protect her children, give them a normal childhood and stay working too.
The Blood on My Hands is an excellen
John Taylor
Jun 23, 2016 rated it liked it
"The Blood on My Hands" is the autobiographical story of a young girl growing up in rural Australia with a father who was brutally violent. Her father did unspeakable acts against the family, their pets, and strangers. Inexplicably, both her family and the authorities failed to take action against her extremely dangerous father. The author's father was never brought to justice and there is no record of his abuse or criminality.

The story is told from the recollection of a young girl, who was onl
Jane Claydon
Feb 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A deeply disturbing book plumbing the depths of human cruelty and depravity. I won't say I enjoyed the book because enjoy is not the right word for the subject matter, I did find it compelling and very, very moving. I read it in the course of a day and several hours later I am still finding it painful. It is hard to believe a human being would do that to his own family, yet, sadly we see it in the news far too often. It is a book of it's time when there were very few options for the people invol ...more
Bonnie Kernene
This was a hard book to read, but so worth the time. By hard I mean reading of the abuse suffered by the author at the hands of he who should have been the one to protect her. I do hope that writing about her horrific experiences was therapeutic for her. The book is well-written and hard to stop reading. I kept wanting him to pay for what he did to her and his other victims, but it did not happen in this life. I do recommend this book. It really is a good book.
Melissa Rothman
Sep 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
this is a remarkable true story of a young girl and all the horrific abuse and tragic things she saw and went through! I believe this woman is brave and resilient my hats off to her for writing such a heart wrenching book of truth that had to be hard to write and relive I do recommend this book but not for the faint of heart or the weak of stomach!
Alicia Sanchez
Jul 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
I heard Shannon Olearys story on a podcast and it led me to this book. Its horrible anyone would have to survive this but the book was a good read and her strength is amazing.
Feb 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was one of those books that stays with you. Harrowing and exceptionally sad. It stayed with me well after the last sentence. Shannon is incredibly brave to write so candidly about her life.
Tina Collins
Nov 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Blood on My Hands is an autobiography with a difference. The author, Shannon O’Leary has truly opened her heart and her life to reveal just what horrors she experienced as a child. Words do not do this book justice as they cannot really explain the appalling abuse that Shannon went through.

Stories such as these are harrowing and heart-breaking but must be told. Even if the abusers are not bought to justice, the relief of unburdening oneself of these daily occurrences is unfathomable (althoug
Felicia Ramirez
Feb 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I struggle to find the correct way to describe this book due to the traumatic experience Shannon lived. This book is incredible! Book is well written. Shannon describes her experiences as if she is reliving it. The way she tells her story as if she is that age is special. I feel as if the reader grows and develops with her. My heart sinks for her & the family. No one should have to experience such terrible events. It’s so infuriating that no one helped her, so many opportunities to help. She ...more
Jul 29, 2016 rated it liked it
The Blood on My Hands is a gripping read, with underlying tension throughout the book, right from the beginning. Every recollection is detailed and concise, be it the author’s memories of her pets and animals or her days at school. It is full of rich descriptions of the characters and the hot Australian setting. The book has a structured, chronological timeline of events, which works without losing the storytelling/memoir feel.

Yet this is not for the weak-hearted. The story is gruelling and trau
Lady ♥ Belleza
This book was sent to me free in exchange for an honest review. I struggled to finish it, I wrestled with writing a review, I gave this book 2 stars on Goodreads and made the comment I was so bored with this book.

There are a few reasons it has taken me so long to write this review. 1) I didn’t really want to write it. I got the book free and so I wanted to like the book and write a nice review. Unfortunately I didn’t like the book. 2) Shannon O’Leary suffered a horrific childhood and from things
The Blood on My Hands is Shannon O'Leary's memoir of growing up in Australia during the 1960s/70s. It recounts the terrible domestic abuse that Shannon, her mother and brothers suffered at the hands of her father, a serial killer who suffered from a multiple personality disorder.

Aside from the horrific acts of physical and mental cruelty that dominate this book, there is one other fact that stands out : the lack of help available to the family despite repeated appeals to doctors, police, the Chu
Crime Traveller
Jul 18, 2016 rated it really liked it

For Shannon O’Leary growing up with her parents and two brothers in the Australian outback was a traumatic and terrifying experience. In The Blood On My Hands she tells her story and reveals the horrific childhood and abuse she suffered at the hands of her mentally ill father. A father who not only terrorized his wife and children but committed murder, taking the lives of innocent women and travellers who were unfortunate enough to cross his path. This is a shocking read and one which is difficu

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Shannon O’Leary is a prolific writer and performer. She is the author of several books of poetry and children’s stories, and she has won many awards for song-writing.

Shannon has acted and directed on the stage and on Australian national TV, and she runs her own production company.

She has numerous graduate and post-graduate degrees in education, music, and science. She is a teacher and academic, h