Saturday, February 20, 2016
The Blood On My Hands by Shannon O'Leary
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 to for help are almost as disturbing as the crimes of her violent father. Relatives are afraid to bring disgrace to the family's good name, nuns condemn the child's objections as disobedience and noncompliance, and laws at the time prevent the police from interfering unless someone is killed.
"The Blood on My Hands" is a heartbreaking-yet riveting-narrative of a childhood spent in pain and terror, betrayed by the people who are supposed to provide safety and understanding, and the strength and courage it takes, not just to survive and escape, but to flourish and thrive.
I don't know that I have ever read of such a horrific case of abuse that didn't end in death. I had to constantly remind myself to calm down, this is a first person account so the author did survive. Words spoken to Shannon by her mother are what truly defines this story.
"Go down the road until you come to a telephone box, and ring the police if your father kills me." Words spoken by a mother who never knew from one day to the next if she and her children would survive the madman she married.
I received an advance copy for review