A worthy contribution to the childhood trauma literature. Exudes a personal, sincere approach to helping others in this particular area. Author is obviously dedicated. Hard to put down, reads like detective story at times with humour, helpful metaphors, and honest appreciation of the human condition. Interesting juxtaposition of helper and helpee perspectives. Written for a lay audience with references to more scholarly ideas that reader can pursue if so desires.
This book should come with trigger warnings galore! Explicit it is and although written within an easy cadence throughout the material itself is heavy and hard and draining. You can only imagine then the life of those living through such trauma both from the victim standpoint and that of the caregiver.
To protect the most vulnerable within our society is of upmost importance. To believe the most vulnerable within our society paramount.
The author writes of how the more complicated the need, the more sick a person is, the less there seems available to treat that person. It would seem to me that this should be reversed. The more complicated the case the more time and effort should be spent in treating that person's illnesses. By curing the most sick among us inadvertently you're sure to stumble upon all the cures of the less ill among us too.
The story shared is harrowing and good to have been given voice to if for no other reason than the healing of those whose lives were shared. The story shared is good to have been given voice to so that people are made to see what is happening all around them! A call to action to pay attention. To be vigilant and to not remain silent if you see or hear evil. The story shared is good to have been given voice to so that others may feel as though there is hope. Perhaps they too can find someone to walk through life with them. To lift them up and hear them out and talk them down and listen to them and be their sounding board. My only critique is that I wished there had been a tangible list of resources included. Places where lifelines would have been listed out. A starting point of assistance and help. A list of places where caregivers might find respite and a list of places where victims of childhood abuse may seek assistance as they come into their own as adults. Something that takes this beyond a story to a helping hand others might grasp a-hold of in order to keep themselves from drowning.
A necessary read. Where is your "Calcutta" and how will you become involved and lift others out of their impoverished states? Pray for open eyes, seek your true North, and discover the person (or people) you are meant to help too.
Lazarus Heart was a finalist at the 2020 Whistler Independent Book Awards.
Mary O'Sullivan presents a unique view of PTSD and treats the topic with courage and even humour. She has an authentic, bold voice and I trust myself to her narration immediately. I am captivated by the life of Chris and empathize with his challenges.
O'Sullivan navigates the complexities of social services and mental illness diagnosis in a clear, thoughtful way and I follow her easily. In the end, she bravely examines her own vulnerability as Chris's caretaker when she becomes almost morbidly curious about the details of Chris's trauma.
Each chapter ends on a tantalizing promise of more tension co come. I learned about the effects of PTSD on the mind and body from O'Sullivan's vivid descriptions. O'Sullivan's character arc is interesting and in a way she feels like she is spiralling down toward Chris. Yet Chris does not change very much. There is no satisfaction in the end of knowing that all of Mary's heartache and effort have helped Chris to heal. And Mary does not successfully obtain social or criminal justice for the trauma Chris has experienced. There is a promise of a sequel.
My heartfelt congratulations go out to chis talented, brave writer.
Comments from the 2020 Whistler Independent Book Awards
Mary O'Sullivan's Lazarus Heart is a work written with a directness and everyday diction that I welcome in any memoir writer. Though engaging in emotionally difficult and medically complex subject matter, the prose keeps the reader grounded in a straight-forward language. I felt she was talking to me and I appreciate it.
The book avoided purple prose flourishes that are often mistaken by inexperienced writers to be "literary" writing. The prose is clear, direct, even boldly frank, interaction between Mary and Chris is gripping. "The openness with which she receives and welcomes Chris to her home and how she struggles to understand the pain and trauma speaks volumes about the narrator's generosity and faithfulness.