Monday, September 21, 2009

Book: "Aftermath: Violence and the Remaking of a Self" -- Susan Brison

Susan Brison, a professor of philosophy at Dartmouth College, weaves an intellectually stimulating but honest and unpretentious narrative about sudden violence and trauma. Brutally attacked, raped, and left for dead while taking a walk in the French countryside, Brison speaks from the mind and heart about the pain of picking up the pieces of one's life.

I found her observations about the reactions of her friends, family, and community to be particularly poignant. She examines the oft-heard encouragement to forget and move on, and how isolating that can be for survivors of sexual violence. She also addresses issues such as deterioration of memory and concentration, change of personality, and distorted views of time and place.

This was the first memoir by a survivor that I read. While it can be a bit dense and academic sometimes, it is overall a very touching and worthwhile read from a clear and expressive author.


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