You have survived the crisis - trauma, disease, accident, or war - now how do you get your life back?
The shark attacked while she was snorkeling, tearing through Micki Glenn’s breast and shredding her right arm. Her husband, a surgeon, saved her life on the spot, but when she was safely home she couldn’t just go on with her life. She had entered an even more profound survival journey: the aftermath.
The survival experience changes everything because it invalidates all your previous adaptations, and the old rules don’t apply. In some cases survivors suffer more in the aftermath than they did during the actual crisis. In all cases, they have to work hard to reinvent themselves. Drawing on gripping cases across a wide range of life-threatening experiences, Laurence Gonzales fashions a compelling argument about fear, courage, and the adaptability of the human spirit. Micki Glenn was later moved to say: "I don’t regret that this happened to me. [It] has been...probably the single most positive experience I’ve ever had."
I loved Deep Survival, but I was sorely disappointed with Everyday Survival, so it was with some hesitation that I burned a credit on another Laurence Gonzales book, but I'm so glad I did. As someone who's faced both personal challenges with PTSD from a near-fatal car crash and from time in law enforcement and as a volunteer firefighter, this book should be required reading for those in the field. Survival never stops when the helicopter comes, backup arrives or the patient is loaded into the ambulance and you're left to roll up the hose and put it back on the truck. Surviving survival is a process; a period of time that has a starting point from the moment of trauma, but doesn't have a clearly defined ending point. It might be that you get through one horrendous incident without so much as a flash of concern, but six weeks later have a relatively minor close call that sends the alarm bells off in your mind.
This book gets that; Gonzales gets that and he does an excellent job of describing it, explaining the process, explaining the why's and how's and then talks about some of the things that have worked, some of the challenges that remain, and in the end, does one of the most courageous things an author of biographical stories can do; he revisits the survivors and tells the honest truth about their current lives. Some stories continue on, what may have seemed like resolution was only remission and the cancerous thoughts in the mind can return with seemingly no reason at all. I commend Gonzales for his honesty, because for those of us who've been there, the lies that things can just be put behind us at some point just add gasoline to the fire that's already burning inside us.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
You will feel everything there is to feel during this book. It applies to all forms of trauma / survival. You'll learn more about yourself, the world, and the human condition. Life is incredibly hard for everyone, some of us get lucky and can coast on autopilot without major incident. The rest of us incur some for of trauma or catastrophe on a spectrum of severity. This book is a helpful philosophical guide to my chronic illness that has stripped away fundamental aspects of my youth. I am not a victim, however, I am a survivor and my journey of triumphs and hardships will continue for the rest of my life. Thank you for this beautiful book.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful