**Disclaimer-I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my view whatsoever.**
Available: Amazon; Goodreads
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 about my review of this story. But it’s not a “story”. It’s not fiction. It’s not a fairy tale nor a mystery starring a strawberry blonde detectives who solves mysteries. This is real life. This book is someone’s personal life story filled with darkness, hardships, and her bravery with speaking out about it now. Each time I read this book, I kept that in mind while taking in it’s contents.
“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.”
It is next to impossible to rate this along my rating scale. Anytime I try to come up with things to say, I become completely speechless. How can you put a scale on someone’s life? I’m a survivor of abuse; however, Shannon suffered far more than I could ever have imagined. Especially during a time in Australia’s history when domestic abuse was heavily overlooked.
Shannon along with her siblings and mother, suffered at the hands of her murderous father. He tortured them all through beatings, harsh words, mutilating their pets, and they could not show him their fear. Even if he saw them show any fear whatsoever, he’d explode in his rampage of rage. The fact Shannon escaped and survived is a miracle in it of itself. She did what she could to survive and now her story is being heard.
There were moments in this book where I trembled out of anger over this story. The fact the authorities disregarded every report, her extended family were too selfish about their “name”, and others ignoring the fact over what was happening is sickening. As a result, people were murdered, information was covered up, and at the end of the day a “name” doesn’t matter. It’s the people who suffered who were more important.
Today, we should learn from this story. If you see or even suspect someone around you is suffering from domestic abuse or worse, you SPEAK OUT. One person’s silence could possibly cost the other person in question or even more their lives.
I am thankful I had the opportunity to read Shannon O’Leary’s personal story. It takes a tremendous amount of strength to open up to readers. It takes even more to speak out and expose these secrets of the past. I want to say thank you to Shannon O’Leary to allow me to have this opportunity to read this.
My Rating: 10+