STAFF REVIEW OF THE TRAUMA CLEANER BY SARAH KRASNOSTEIN BY OWNER NATASHA (Text Publishing) Sarah Krasnostein's The Trauma Cleaner has been widely acclaimed and nominated / awarded. I missed getting around to it last year during the hype but was so glad when one of our bookclubs selected it as their June read. And it is definitely deserving of all the accolades! It is an excellent portrayal of an ordinary local person and her extraordinary life. I loved how it went beyond the simple trauma cleaning story which I had thought would just be the focus, and instead cleverly wove these stories in amongst the real story - the life of Sandra Pankhurst. As a Melbourne person, I loved the connection to local areas, but was horrified by the early family abuse and then marvelled at how many roads and careers Sandra took when she left home such as working at a funeral home, in a hardware store and even for a time as a prostitute. The honesty and candor and her helpfulness at all times was a real highlight.
All of these roads were during Sandra's own sexual identity and orientation awareness and leading her to embark on transgender surgery at a time when it was still quite new, and done at great risk to the individual and also by the doctors putting their careers on the line. It was amazing to read how Sandra was married both as a man and as a woman and the impact on those around her. The final section dealing with the issue of disconnection was important in explaining Sandra's inability to see the impact on her ex wife and kids. I definitely felt sad for her abandoned children and found it understandable that one of them had not wanted to reconnect.
Sarah's investigation into the many varied trauma cleaning jobs (hoarding, death, murder, etc) and Sandra's workers was fascinating and I liked how they were dispersed throughout without judgement by Sandra or Sarah. It makes you feel empathy for people in these situations, and a little heartbroken to think there are such neglected / pained people in our own community. And also how these kinds of situations don't discriminate and can affect learned or wealthy people, not just the poor or uneducated.
It was appreciated that Sarah admitted to the limitations of recording ALL the facts as reliant on Sandra's unreliable memory, and also how Sarah pursued interviewing other key people from Sandra's past to fill in some of these gaps. Her commitment to researching thoroughly this process indicates it become more than just a story but a deep interest in the life of Sandra and those around her. And in this way it reminded me at times of the writing of Helen Garner.
What really made this book stand out, was not only the interwoven structure and the subject matter but also the beautiful and evocative writing. And even though I loved it on audiobook which was excellently read by Rachael Tidd (complete with deep gravelly voice for Sandra just as you'd imagine it would be), I would have loved to have underlined so many beautiful phrases because they so accurately pinpointed so many wonderful moments, and vignettes from a remarkable life. Highly recommended 9/10 #SarahKrasnostein #TheTraumaCleaner #staffbookreview #staffpick #truestory #aussieauthor #aussielife #transgender #traumacleaning #books #bookreview
Thinking about joining us?
– Read the selected book each month. You are welcome to attend even if you do not finish the book, but please note we will discuss the ending.
– We also often share other books and book related films / tv shows we have viewed that month.
– We meet in a local café or our bookstore once a month on a set day / time.
– Food and/or drink purchases expected at cafes with no split bills possible so bring cash
– Sessions last approximately 2 hours.
– Our groups have between 6-12 members maximum.
– Being an adult only event, we are not able to cater for children attending these groups.
The minimum bookclub joining fee is $205 for 12month membership, which will include 6 bookclub titles at your choosing & admin fee.
BASIC – SIX book package – ($205 – 6 books for price of approx $28each and $36 admin fee)
SILVER – TEN book package ($306 – 10 books for price of $27each and $36 admin fee)
GOLD – TWELVE book package ($348 – 12 books at reduced price of $26 each and admin fee of $36)
**Note that all bookclub memberships do contribute towards your loyalty points which is a further 10% savings
Remaining books can be borrowed / shared or if you need to buy them from us will be offered to you at 10% discount.
As always, our commitment is to send reminder email / sms about a few days prior to meeting, as well as a summary email about a week or so afterwards. Natasha aims to visit each group at least every 3 months especially on title choice meetings.
2018 GROUPS AND TIMES
Fiction Fanatics – 3rd Wednesday 7pm (full)
Book Bandits – 2nd Thursday 6.30pm (full)
Early Birds – 2nd Wednesday 10am
Pageturners 4th Wednesday 7pm (full)
We will provide a list of FOUR book options each month based on a set theme. As we are a bookstore with access to information about hot new titles, our offerings will primarily be new releases, but will from time to time include a backlist title (12 months or older) amongst new titles
Payment for basic 6 book packages to be paid in full to be made by end of January 2016 as per normal, allowing this extra time as we know December can be an expensive gift time for us all.
After feedback from customers who want higher packages but cannot outlay full payment in January we will offer 2 part payment plan ONLY for those taking the 10 ($306) or 12 book package ($348). Basic payment ($205) still to be paid by end of January and remainder of payment by end of March (ie for silver package $205 by end of Jan and remaining $101 to be paid by end of March, for gold package it would be $143 payable as second payment).
We remind all members that package books can only be from what your group has selected and cannot be transferred in any way to other book options from the lists or within store so must be all used by end of December.