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Trauma Cleaner: One Woman's Extraordinary Life in the Business of Death, Decay, and Disaster
Trauma Cleaner: One Woman's Extraordinary Life in the Business of Death, Decay, and Disaster | Sarah Krasnostein
A fascinating, incredible true story about the person who spends her life cleaning up after traumas.Do you know who cleans up a murder scene? It's not the police or the paramedics. It's people like Sandra Pankhurst, a trauma cleaner for whom death and decay are a part of life. Sandra's trauma work includes crime scenes and floods, real estate agents, executors of deceased estates, and charitable organizations. All call on Sandra to deal with lonely deaths, suicides or cases of long-term property neglect, where homes have fallen into disrepute due to the occupier's mental illness, drug or alcohol addiction, aging, or physical disability. Sandra comes to know her clients as well as they know themselves; she airs out their smells, throws out their weird porn, their photos, their letters, the last traces of their DNA entombed in soaps and toothbrushes. She does not, however, erase these people. She couldn't. She has experienced their same sorrows. This is the fascinating true story of what happens after disaster; what happens when the dust clears and all that's left is a mess to clean up? You call Sandra, who arrives to make order out of chaos.
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ElizaMarie
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@SleepsWithBooks -- You are always so sweet/kind, Muah! I am so excited to start this one today! Thank you for the books! You are such a book angel

Sleepswithbooks You‘re welcome!! I hope you have a fun reading journey 😃 3w
22 likes1 comment
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Sleepswithbooks
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Today is supposed to be about cleaning so I decided to read about it instead.

DivineDiana I get it! 👍🏻📚❤️ 3mo
UwannaPublishme 😁😁😁 3mo
thegreensofa 😆 3mo
70 likes1 stack add3 comments
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Enchanted_Bibliophile
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Actually doing quite good with #20in4 #ReadAThon
Finished 2 Books and read a good chunk of Shining Girls
Bringing me to a total of 9h18m so far.

Day 1 : 3h21m
Day 2 : 5h57m

@Andrew65

Andrew65 Well on track 👏👏👏 7mo
36 likes1 comment
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Kpiper
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This subject of this book has led a fascinating life, and the journalist who tells her story does a wonderful job.

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keepingupwiththepenguins
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Pickpick

The hook of The Trauma Cleaner is, naturally, the voyeuristic thrill we get from peering into lives that have fallen apart. The thing is, though, it‘s not really *about* trauma cleaning. Krasnostein gives a thorough beginner‘s-guide to the nature of that work, but really this story is about Pankhurst, and her incredible life. Full review here: https://keepingupwiththepenguins.com/the-trauma-cleaner-sarah-krasnostein/

52 likes3 stack adds
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Smrloomis
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Pickpick

This is an amazing story of resilience but it is also a difficult one to listen to. I enjoyed it and ultimately found it rewarding but wow, this woman lived through a lot of 🤬🤬🤬 ... events. There was one section that I had to skip because otherwise I would not have been able to finish. Still glad I did though. @Bookboss

Cinfhen This book was so powerful. I was just awed by her inner strength 💪🏽💄 2y
Smrloomis @Cinfhen YES! That‘s why I continued past all the really tough stuff. Sandra was amazing. I also liked the author‘s story woven into this. It worked for me in this case. 2y
Cathythoughts Great review! I think this is still on my kindle waiting.... 2y
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Smrloomis @Cathythoughts Thanks. I‘ll be interested to hear what you think. 2y
Cinfhen Yes, it was really well crafted and woven together. It‘s stayed with me and that‘s a sign of a REALLY good book/ story. 2y
Smrloomis @Cinfhen agreed. I already want another book - was hoping there‘d be an epilogue! 2y
Bookboss It‘s tough to listen to, but it gave me so much to think about. 2y
81 likes3 stack adds7 comments
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Smrloomis
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Wow, this is amazing and of course very sad. @Bookboss

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Bookboss
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Pickpick

I expected this to be a memoir, but it is a biography of Sandra, who owns a cleaning company. They don‘t do weekly vacuuming and dusting, but they clean up after murders, suicides, and hoarders - trauma cleaning. The trauma cleaning also refers to Sandra‘s own process of dealing with the trauma of the abuse she has suffered from her parents and from transphobic people. The story is fascinating but brutal. The audiobook narrator is excellent.

Smrloomis Good review. I had forgotten about this and just started it now on audio, thanks! Not sure I‘ll make it through the saddest parts yet. I‘ll have to see 😢 2y
CourtSmall This book is amazing !! 2y
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rwmg
Pickpick

I got this book because of the word of mouth on LT and Litsey about how good it was. Going in I was expecting the main focus to be the cleaning jobs Sandra Pankhurst had worked on, but her lifestory as a trans woman in Australia was unexpectedly compelling. 👇

rwmg I also didn't realise the book was somebody writing about her rather than her own memoirs. And TBH I found the way the author kept injecting herself and her opinions into the narrative rather irritating. Also the book was definitely overwritten in places in a search for significance and literary style which it didn't need as Ms Pankhurst's life and work are more than capable of standing on their own merits. Pick for Sandra, so-so for the author. 3y
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rwmg
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rwmg
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Starting

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suvata
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Panpan

Uh, no thanks.

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veritysalter
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Bailedbailed

This book is not really about what I thought it would be about. As a slightly morbid person, I was looking forward to the hoarders and crime scenes; but the book is more about Sandra‘s journey as a trans woman. I hope to be able to come back to this book when my mind is in a better place. I found Sandra to be a very complex and often infuriating person. I cannot fathom her attitude towards her children, so much so, I need a break.

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Alfrazier21
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Pickpick

This was a fascinating read. I really enjoyed it!! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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TheWordJar
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This book is already breaking my heart! 💔 I was just looking for stories of cleaning up trauma scenes and hoarders‘ houses—don‘t judge me!—but I am getting so much more.

EnidBiteEm Such an important question. 3y
CampbellTaraL This book broke my heart too, and I stumbled into it in a similar way: I was curious about the people who cleaned up after trauma and hoarding situations. But as unprepared for it, I'm very glad to have read Sandra's story. 3y
47 likes2 comments
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Bookishlie
Pickpick

This book as so good and so problematic. I‘m torn about Sandra, sometimes I like her. Other times I think she‘s a horrible person. I guess that‘s what makes a good book. One of the best I‘ve read in a long time. 4 stars:)

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danibel
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danibel
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danibel
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TheBookAddict 🤔 “fortress of shit,” I like it. 😆 3y
7 likes1 comment
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Meghan1
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Mehso-so

This wasn‘t what I thought it would be. I was expecting more about trauma cleaning and less of a biography. However, it was the exact opposite. This was a biography of Sandra Pankhurst, growing up transgender in Australia, with a very secondary focus on her trauma cleaning business. I am morbid; I WANTED to hear about the trauma cleaning!! ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Prairiegirl_reading Hmmmm I don‘t blame you. It‘s called Trauma Cleaner for goodness sake! 🤦🏻‍♀️ 3y
Caroline2 Hmm, I agree!! That‘s a misleading title then. 3y
bookwrm526 There‘s an excellent interview with her on the podcast Criminal 3y
CaroPi This one was of the books I abandon this year exactly because of the same reasons! 3y
71 likes4 comments
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Bookishlie
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Is it weird that I have like 25 books going I just keep reading them bits and pieces as they cycle through my Libby. I‘m in school so I can‘t just finish the books by the due date so I start them recycle my hold and proceed when they come back through or I‘m in the mood to restart them....

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youneverarrived
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I feel so perfectly matched with Meg for #newyearwhodis

These are the books that were already on my radar and I think my library has a couple of them in but I‘m going to read as many from the list as I can 😁

monalyisha Hooray! “With the Fire on High” is great on audio, if you do that. And “The Collected Schizophrenias” is on my TBR; it looks so good. I read a piece about it that mentioned how she wrote one of them while she was convinced she was dead. And a coworker whose daughter‘s friend struggles with schizophrenia says it‘s the only thing he‘s ever read that‘s felt true to his experience. 3y
youneverarrived @monalyisha it sounds like a must read. I‘m looking forward to reading it. I‘ve just asked Meg what she would recommend on audio so good to know With the Fire on High is worth listening to 💛 3y
Megabooks I listened to almost all of these, and there is an email coming your way with my opinions!! 3y
kspenmoll I have Fire on High. Would you suggest audio rather than print? 3y
63 likes4 comments
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danibel
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Currently reading

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HeatherBookNerd
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Pickpick

This was a completely fascinating account of the life of Sandra Pankhurst, a complicated and resourceful woman who has suffered her own share of challenges and trauma. Yet she continued to move forward and has a successful business helping others clean up after disaster with compassion and humor. An especially great audiobook.
#nonfiction #readharderchallenge

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MicheleinPhilly
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Work was stupid busy all week so I‘ve barely had a minute to read. Hasn‘t stopped me from loading up my Kindle (that is already bursting at the seams with unread books.) Some people spend this season binge eating Christmas cookies, I spend it binge buying books. 🎄📚

vivastory I wholeheartedly approve 👍🎉😄 3y
Nute Binge Buying Books...say that fast three times!😅 I‘m down with this action!👍🏽 3y
Ashley_Nicoletto The last few weeks have had fantastic ebook deals. I‘ve also been filling up my ereader. 3y
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EliNeedsMoreShelves Lol - binge buying books is my superpower. 😆 3y
BarbaraBB The tagged one is so good!! 3y
Eyelit Same! 3y
cathipink The Trauma Cleaner has stuck with me all year. I wholly support this binge 🙂 3y
Kalalalatja Binge Buying Books should be a national sport! 🙌 3y
MicheleinPhilly @Kalalalatja You‘re looking at the World Champ right here! 🏆 3y
britt_brooke My favorite kind of bingeing! 3y
Cinfhen Well done 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 3y
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scowler1
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Pickpick

This was a tough read, very sad and quite disgusting in places. Just my type of thing! Trailed off a little towards the end I thought, could have been a few pages shorter.

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Nicki_K
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Pickpick

An amazing read. I thought it was going to be all about a lady and her crime scene cleanup business but this book was soooo much more than that. It is mainly the life story of Sandra Pankhurst the amazing woman who started up the cleaning business and her colourful life from childhood to the present day. A touching insightful look into a tran's persons journey to become the woman she always wanted to be despite so many adversities.

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sophierayton
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Pickpick

Incredible, unique and compassionate perspective. The mix of the trauma cleaner's history and the accounts of the people she cleans for is fascinating. It's really good and I'd recommend this book to most people. It also made me want to clean my house, and that's generally a good thing!

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Rissreads
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Pickpick

Wow, this story is both tragic and inspiring and is like the saying 'Truth is stranger than fiction.'
I cannot fathom how one who has suffered so much unkindness has so much kindness to give to others. Sandra reminds me of the mythical Phoenix, who is constantly rising from the ashes to be reborn stronger.

BarbaraBB Such an impressive story! 3y
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FantasyChick
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Pickpick

Sandra has lived such an interesting life and I loved reading about it. There was a lot of time jumps in this one and the timeline got a but confusing but this was such a real and deep look at one of the most unique lives I've read about.

#scarathlon #teamslaughter @Clwojick

Clwojick OOh! I'll have to read this next month for #nfnov 3y
BarbaraBB Such a good read. 3y
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FantasyChick
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Finally a little wind down time in bed. My favourite part of the day!

#scarathlon #teamslaughter @Clwojick

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Nebklvr
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Mehso-so

This was a good audio book. Sandra is a complex and often infuriating woman. The writing was a bit overblown but the story was interesting.

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babyruth2510
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Mehso-so

This book is an interesting look at one woman's strength, dignity, and determination to be herself at all costs. Set in Australia, Sandra's story of transitioning is difficult and often downright scary but she pushes on. As a trauma cleaner, Sandra arrives to give her clients those very things that she keeps fighting for herself: strength, dignity, and hope.
I found the book a little slow and completely not what I expected. 3 stars.

Meghan1 Me too! I wanted to hear more about the trauma cleaning! 3y
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Dolly
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Mehso-so

I expected tales of what happens day to day in this line of work. Yes, there were lots of accounts of trauma and hoarder clean ups but there was just as much detail about living a trans life. While I think we should understand how others deal with real life I wasn‘t expecting this info in this book. Maybe the title should‘ve hinted at this?

8little_paws Yeah this wasn't my favorite either. 3y
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Jenken1998
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Pickpick

Fascinating. A story about a broken woman with a horrible upbringing helping broken people in their time of need. Sandra (born Peter) started a business as a trauma cleaner. She connects with her clients in a way an unbroken person could not. The story is told in alternating chapters of her life and her cases. Her memory is impaired so i found the writing a little "flighty" but im betting that is exactly how she is. Overall i enjoyed the read.

BooknerdsLife Love your review! 💛 I‘ve started the audio book which is brilliant but sadly have to return it before I could finish 🙈 3y
rwmg It's on my virtual TBR shelf. I may have to move it up a few places 3y
cathipink I loved this book. Still thinking about it after reading it last month. 3y
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Cathythoughts
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I got out of our car today & as I opened the door this was staring at me .... maybe it‘s a sign that I need to read a certain book ... 😳🤔

AmyG Maid? 3y
Cathythoughts @AmyG are there a few with this cover ?? 3y
Ruthiella Or the universe is sending you the peace✌️ sign! 3y
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AmyG Ahhhhh right. I am reading Maid, so naturally that was my first thought. Ha! 3y
Cathythoughts @Ruthiella loving your interpretation ♥️♥️♥️ 3y
Nute I‘m with @Ruthiella and going for a message of peace especially if the other message is get out mops and buckets!🤣 3y
Cathythoughts @AmyG I‘m not familiar with any of the books ... only the cover is memorable 👍🏻😘 3y
Cathythoughts @Nute I‘m with the peace too 👍🏻♥️ 3y
CarolynM When I saw the photo I thought you had cleverly recreated the Trauma Cleaner cover😂 I guess you have to read it now. 3y
Cathythoughts @CarolynM 😂 I couldn‘t believe it ... I thought it reminded me of a book cover ... I guess I will have to read it 🙃 3y
BooknerdsLife Haha 😂 that‘s the cover of the audio book I‘m listening to✌🏼👏🏼 3y
Cathythoughts @BooknerdsLife 😂! I know it‘s a scream , I couldn‘t get over it 😁 3y
BooknerdsLife @Cathythoughts 🤣🤣🤣it‘s uncanny! 3y
LeahBergen 😂😂😂 3y
Cathythoughts @LeahBergen 🙄😂😂 3y
64 likes15 comments
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perfectsinner
Mehso-so

It wasn't what I had expected, but still an all right, interesting read

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BooknerdsLife
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I don‘t like non fiction but have been wanting to read this since its published! Just started this audio last night cause my eyes were too tired to read. It‘s about this extraordinary courageous woman who became the trauma cleaner after she was a husband, father & drag queen & even tho she has gone through a lot in her life, she‘s living a positive life and helping others in many way.
#audiobook #booknerd #currentread #24B4Monday #nonfiction

BeansPage Sounds interesting! 3y
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Linda906
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Pickpick

Sandra Pankhurst is a trauma cleaner. Not only does she clean scenes after traumas and horrific events, she also is a lifeline for the real people involved. Her own life is full of abuse and neglect, yet she is a survivor that faces each day with so much courage and makes a difference in her clients‘ lives. I listened to this true story and fell in love with this inspirational, vibrant woman. A five star read for me.

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CampbellTaraL
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Pickpick

A difficult read because of what Sandra had to go through it her life, and the work she threw herself into in her later years. Reading about these things is nothing compared to her lived experience, however. I had to take my time to get through this one.

The author did a fantastic job keeping as true to the story as one can with the unreliable recounting of events, which Krasnostein is upfront about.

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ReadingRuby
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Pickpick

A great audiobook about an incredible woman‘s life. The narration was perfect, and I feel a real connection with both the author and Sandra. Though her life has been a million miles away from mine, in ways I felt like I could really relate to her

suvata On my TBR 3y
ReadingRuby @suvata I highly recommend it! 3y
RadicalReader I love audiobooks such a wonderful time having someone else read to you 3y
ReadingRuby @RadicalReader I love audiobooks! Great company when I‘m driving or cleaning 3y
26 likes1 stack add4 comments
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Hestapleton
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Taking a break from listening to podcasts at work and giving this a try. Have any of you lovely Littens read this one before?

ShyBookOwl I heard about this book... on a podcast 😂 it was being highly spoken of. I hope you enjoy it! 3y
Redwritinghood Yes, it was pretty good. 3y
MarriedtoMrT I listened to it and loved it. A tough read but good. She‘s fascinating. 3y
See All 7 Comments
8little_paws I'm listening now, going to finish it today. I have mixed feelings. 3y
Joanne1 It‘s a bit harrowing but beautifully told. 3y
ReadingEnvy Loved it and thought the author handled her subject well 3y
Cinfhen Such a powerful read, although I did audio and it was fantastic!!!! 3y
77 likes4 stack adds7 comments
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ReadingRuby
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I had a lovely afternoon this weekend driving through the North Yorkshire moors with The Trauma Cleaner for company. This book is fascinating, and my first book looking at the experience of a transgender person

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Conservio
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Was cleaning up my goodreads and well.... this happened #bookhaul #library

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ReadingEnvy
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Reading Envy Podcast 148: Multiple Lives with Jeff Koeppen

Jeff (@BestDogDad) talks about visiting the actual place where his novels took place, and Jenny discovers Jeff has an entire shelf for a subgenre he's really into. Jenny experiences some weird moments while she's reading weird short stories, and they seem related. We discuss fascinating people and historical fantasy before we're through.

http://tinyurl.com/ReadingEnvy148

Centique Great podcast Jenny! I‘m here for that multiple lives bookshelf of Jeff‘s too 😍😍 3y
ReadingEnvy @Centique thank you! I need to go look at his shelf! 3y
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arlenefinnigan
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Pickpick

An extraordinary life indeed. A remarkable story, told with empathy and compassion.

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Christine
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Pickpick

Thanks to so many Litsy raves, plus a reminder from the most recent Reading Glasses podcast episode, I finally got around to this, and yay, because it truly was fantastic. Not only is Sandra Pankhurst a thoroughly fascinating subject, but also Krasnostein is a great writer and storyteller. Loved how she portrayed the humanity of the trauma cleaning customers, too, rather than just focusing on the gory details of their living conditions.

Blaire Yes! I picked it up bc of litsy reviews as well and was so glad I did. Also liked the empathy for each individual shown by Sandra and the author. 4y
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CuriousG
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Pickpick

Cannot praise this one enough. What could have been simply depressing or shock value, was written with care and poignancy. A look at a life both remarkable and tragic at the same time. Listening to this I cheered Sandra on, was frustrated by her actions, and wept for her. Ultimately I grew to love her spirit, as I hoped she would rise above her own trauma and interact differently with loved ones.

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Carolyn11215
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Just realized this works for something from another country prompt on #nonfiction2019 since Sandra lives in Australia.