The Blood on My Hands: An Autobiography by Shannon O’Leary


Book Description:

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.

My Thoughts:

The Blood on My Hands is a true story about the abuse suffered by the author and her family.

Shannon’s father seems to have multiple personalities which leads him to be violent and abusive, mainly to Shannon and her mum.

There are some parts that are quite horrific, mainly when her father is brutally getting rid of women’s bodies that he has killed. Some parts certainly make for uncomfortable reading.

It is obvious that Shannon’s father has a lot of mental health issues but unfortunately no matter how much Shannon’s mother begs the police and doctors, no one is prepared to step in and help the family out.

It is really hard to rate a book that is non fiction, especially one to do with abuse. Even though the book held my interest and I found some parts shocking I just didn’t feel the true horror of what Shannon and her family were going through. The story jumps quite quickly from when something happens to something else so that I just didn’t get the full impact of the horror that had just happened. The ending also jumped from when Shannon is still a child to a two page Epilogue and left me feeling like there was a huge gap missing.

I feel bad not being able to give the book more than three stars as I do have every empathy for Shannon and her family and what they went through but it just didn’t have the impact on me that I would expect from a book involving such a harrowing subject. I would still urge people to read the book as it is a story that should be told and heard.

My thanks to the author and Kelsey at Book Publicity Services for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads rating 3/5 stars.

Blood On My Hands is available to purchase from Amazon UK & US.

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