What Happened to You? by Bruce D. Perry and Oprah Winfrey
There are lots of books written about trauma – The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk is probably the seminal text, but it is relatively heavy-going. So, perhaps it’s wrong to label What Happened to You? ‘trauma-lite’ but the fact is that Perry explains trauma, and its impact on brain development and mental health in simple, easily accessible terms. Oprah’s contribution is personal, drawn from her own experience and from a number of people she has met through her talk show. Overall, this book exceeded my expectations, and I would recommend it to anyone who was wanting to understand more about trauma.
The Salt Path by Raynor Winn
The Salt Path had come highly recommended by a number of bloggers and it did not disappoint. A perfectly balanced blend of personal reflection and the author’s observations about the environment as she and her husband walked the British South West Coast Path, from Somerset to Dorset, through Devon and Cornwall.
This book could be read on a relatively superficial level, marvelling at the way Winn managed various challenges. But she writes with an honesty that demands more – use this memoir as the starting point to ponder broader themes, such as the impact of loss; the ‘comfort’ of our assumptive world; and how society treats the vulnerable.
Emotional Female by Yumiko Kadota
The first part of Emotional Female is devoted to the author’s childhood and probably should have been cut to give a tighter focus to the issues at the crux of her story (racism and sexism). As it was, I struggled – so much information about the author’s (all admirable and worthy) achievements – things like running marathons and participating in charity events and covering colleagues on Christmas Day – that they read as included to demonstrate the injustice and unfairness of the way she was treated in the workplace… and yet, no justification is required.