Wednesday, 4 March 2020

Book Review: The Blood On My Hands//Out Of The Fire And Into The Pan by Shannon O'Leary*

"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."

"Shannon O'Leary (a pseudonym) is a prolific writer and performer. Her first book The Blood on My Hands told the story of her traumatic and violent childhood in the 1960s and 70s Australia. This sequel, Out of the Fire and into the Pan, explains to the reader how she progressed into the adult world while coming to terms with her terrifying past. It is a story of personal growth and of how O'Leary navigates her transition into adulthood, while seeking out the social norms and finding her place in the world. Out of the Fire and into the Pan takes the reader on a personal journey where Shannon questions herself, her past, her choice of relationships and her place in the world. It is a story of resilience, accomplishment and personal triumph.

Readers will quickly become engrossed as they follow the author's life after the tragic circumstances forced upon her as a child and on to the life she made for herself as a survivor."


Sometimes you read something so dark and disturbing that it leaves you reeling. Something so horrific that it leaves you wondering what exactly you can say about it. And whether you can recommend a book that left you emotionally shook.

The Blood On My Hands, and it's sequel Out Of The Fire And Into The Pan, by Shannon O'Leary is not a book that's easy to read by any means. But I feel like it's an important read,  because Shannon's story should not be overlooked. 

Shannon's story is, unfortunately, not an uncommon one. Although not my preferred genre, I have read a few other autobiographies in a similar vein to Shannon's, documenting horrific abuse. And although hard to hear, we owe it to the survivors of such abuse to hear their story.

Both books are written in such a manner you could be forgiven for thinking it's a work of fiction. The story flows well, follows the timeline of abuse as it happened in real-life, and is an extremely evocative and emotional read. 

Would I recommend it? In short, yes. As long as you don't go into this expecting an easy read, you'll find both books to be inspiring and totally worthy of your time. I'm sure that sharing her story was incredibly hard, but hopefully Shannon feels some kind of closure for having written down her trauma and knowing people have heard her story.

So give Shannon the respect she deserves and pick up a copy of her books. Settle in with some tissues and be prepared to lose yourself for hours in the true story of Shannon's horrific childhood. And share your review, because reviews are everything to authors. 


*These products were gifted to me in exchange for a review. All words and opinions are my own.

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