#aww2018 · 2018 Reviews · Australian · Book Broadcast · memoir · Uncategorized

Book Broadcast: The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein


Book Broadcast is a post I have created to help ease the load of the books I have for review. It is a great way to spread the word, providing recognition to an author or publisher for sending me a book to review. As my reviewing and blogging duties have stepped up a notch in the last year, I don’t often have the time to complete an in depth review. I hope you can discover some new titles to read through this regular book post.

Before she was a trauma cleaner, Sandra Pankhurst was many things: husband and father,trauma littledrag queen, gender reassignment patient, sex worker, small businesswoman, trophy wife…

But as a little boy, raised in violence and excluded from the family home, she just wanted to belong. Now she believes her clients deserve no less.

A woman who sleeps among garbage she has not put out for forty years. A man who bled quietly to death in his loungeroom. A woman who lives with rats, random debris and terrified delusion. The still life of a home vacated by accidental overdose.

Sarah Krasnostein has watched the extraordinary Sandra Pankhurst bring order and care to these, the living and the dead—and the book she has written is equally extraordinary. Not just the compelling story of a fascinating life among lives of desperation, but an affirmation that, as isolated as we may feel, we are all in this together.

Memoirs are often penned based on popular identities such as celebrities and sports personalities.  The Trauma Cleaner is an unusual but illuminating memoir of an ordinary Australian, with quite the extraordinary life. Sarah Krasnostein works to highlight the life and times of Sandra Pankhurst, a woman of many guises. She began life as a boy, grossly mistreated by his family, through to a husband, father, drag queen, entrepreneur, wife and eventually a trauma cleaner. This fascinating life tale held me captive for the entire journey. This is writer Sarah Krasnostein’s first book and it is a solid feat. Sarah worked closely with Sandra Pankhurst to ensure that all details of this memoir were presented as correctly as possible. This was no easy task, based on the fact that Pankhurst suffers from fractured memory recall, which can be attributed to her traumatic life experiences.  What arises is a memoir that alternates snippets of Pankhurst’s colourful life events, with real life cases of her work as a trauma cleaner. The chapters that cover particular cases of cleaning up after both the living and the dead, where Pankhurst painstakingly provides order, as well as empathy, in the face of such chaos is admirable. Personally, I wanted more from this side of the memoir, I was enthralled by these cases! If we all took a leaf out of Sandra Pankhurst’s book, there is plenty to gain from the humility she exudes. The Trauma Cleaner is an observant memoir that I recommend with ease.

The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein was published in October 2017 by Text Publishing. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

The Trauma Cleaner, is book #96 of the Australian Women Writers Challenge


3 thoughts on “Book Broadcast: The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein

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