20 April 2020

The Blood On My Hands - True Crime Autobiography

I don't tend to read much true crime, instead opting for the fictional world of crime with witty, lovable detectives and crimes that seem a bit far fetched. However, a while ago (sorry Shannon & Kelsey for the super long delay) I was asked if I wanted to read Shannon's story and I was definitely intrigued. I think we can all forget that serial killers have families that are affected.

The Blood On My Handsis an autobiography written by Shannon O'Leary telling us what it was like growing up in the same house as a serial killer and terrifying abuser.

Two books titled The Blood on my hands and Out of the Fire and into the pan are being held in front of a green hedge,
Shannon grew up in Australia in the 1960/70’s. To the outside, she was part of an upstanding Catholic family. However, behind closed doors, her life was full of horrific abuse, murder and being let down by the people who were supposed to protect her.

This is an extremely tough read knowing that it was someone’s life. A child lived through that. I nearly gave up a few times just because it's hard to read about the horrendous abuse Shannon and her family went through. If you are a fan of true crime though then this might be for you. It does include physical & emotional abuse, rape, murder and animal cruelty so bear that in mind.

I did find some points hard to follow along with because the narrative jumps around. It’s written from Shannon’s POV from when she was a child which adds to the emotion but can be a bit confusing. However, it is an intense and gripping read and it broke my heart. It shows just how difficult it can be to get away from abusers and it was devastating to see all the people who let them down, including the police and her teachers.

The ending is kind of abrupt and leaves you wondering how Shannon is doing now she is an adult but she followed this up with a second book to show how her life progressed.

An image for pinterest showing the covers of both shannon O'leary's autobiographies

Out Of The Fire And Into The Pan* is the sequel which explains how she came to terms with her terrifying past and moved into adulthood. It starts with her at 15 moving back to the city and trying to get into work. Shannon has to navigate her transition into adulthood while working out social norms and discovering her place in the world. She questions everything; herself, her past and her choice of relationships. She does all of this whilst still being tormented and stalked by her abusive father and dealing with insomnia, PTSD and severe anxiety.

I struggled to keep up with this one because it doesn't flow as well and is a bit repetitive. However, it is great to see Shannon and her mum grow. It shows how the after effects of growing up in that environment can have an impact on your life.

These books won't be for everyone because they are a dark topic and a tough read. However, they are eye-opening on what some people go through and how systems needed to change and we can still do better.

Are you a true crime fan or do you stick to fiction?


* This book was gifted in exchange for an honest review, however, it does not affect my views and the opinions expressed in this post are independent and my own

** This post contains affiliate links. These do not cost you anything but if you buy something from the link I will get a few pennies

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