My Review of Crash
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Disclosure: I received the product in exchange for my review. All opinions are 100% mine.
This book was truly a page-turner. I found myself wanting to keep reading and it was so hard to put down. I will be honest that when I first started reading I was upset with Rachel. For thinking more about Mark than David, for not wanting David to come home, for so many different things at first.
I truly felt bad for Rachel as I could not imagine having two small children and have to go through this. A TBI isn’t something that is easy for them to understand and David’s outbursts were very hurtful at times. Especially for Joshie as he didn’t know quite how to understand why his Daddy acted this way.
In saying that I think my main reason for feeling all the ways that I felt is due to a personal experience in our family.
January 10, 2020, my sister’s husband (my brother-in-law) for over 26 years was in a tragic accident. His pick-up truck hit black ice (from what could be analyzed by the police department) and he hit a tree. He is a retired Sheriff Department Head Investigator and was at the time working as head of the WGI Racetrack security.
He suffered a brain injury in the same area that David did. The paramedics weren’t sure he would make it to our local hospital. So he was airlifted to a hospital that was 40 minutes by vehicle or less from the location of his accident. When my Mom got a hold of my husband I was asleep as it was earlier morning at the time. My husband said that my brother-in-law had been in an accident and was airlifted to the hospital they took him to right over the border of NYS. I don’t know what I was thinking but I was like oh ok. I didn’t realize the severity of his accident even though he had been airlifted.
I asked my Mom if we should come and she said she felt it was important to support our family. At the time their daughter (my niece) was in a local jail so we had to stop there first to let her know the situation. (you can read my post here about AC)
I will just refer to him as my BIL for the rest of this post. So when we got to the hospital my BIL was in surgery. A surgery they were not sure he would survive. He had damage to his right frontal lobe (a part of his skull had to be reconstructed for a prosthesis), a crushed right orbital bone, an ankle broken in 2 places, a broken collar bone, and other injuries I can’t quite remember right now. Through many surgeries and 7 months in a hospital/rehabilitation center, COVID happening (where my sister couldn’t see him for almost 2 months or more) and ongoing rehabilitation, he is now home.
He is bedridden, he can’t walk, he can’t remember things from recent times but has many memories of before. He sometimes thinks his kids are little. He has at times thought my sister wasn’t his wife. His daughter committed suicide in early November and although my sister told him that she had passed, he doesn’t remember that she is gone. I know he is still in there most of the time. I know because he calls me Reebs (his nickname for me) or Bec. I/we are just not sure how close he will come to being himself again OR if he ever will.
My sister is a nurse, so besides the help of her family, she is doing his care on her own. Insurance fights her all of the time for procedures or therapy. It has been a nightmare for her and our family, as well as her kids and granddaughters.
Now after telling you all of that, that is where I struggled when I started reading Rachel’s book. As I went through her story I could understand some of her feelings. I laughed a little when David told his family or friend that they served him filet mignon in the hospital as my BIL would say he had eaten steak and shrimp. So many similarities yet different situations.
I finally stopped being “mad” at Rachel halfway through. I realized that not everyone’s outcomes are the same as my sister’s. Rachel had already stopped really loving her husband before his accident. Her circumstances did not mirror my sister’s unlike how David and my BIL had a lot of injuries in common. I give Rachel a lot of credit for being honest with her feelings. It couldn’t have been easy to share some of her deepest thoughts while writing this book.
The story itself was an easy-to-read book. I loved Rachel’s writing and you would never know this was her first book. I would definitely recommend it to everyone that is looking for a great book to add to their reading list.
Publisher: She Writes Press, (April 27, 2021)
Category: Memoir, Divorce, Parenting, Moral Conflict, Caring for Disabled, Caregiver
Tour dates: April-May, 2021
Available in Print and ebook, 224 pages
Description of Crash: by Rachel Michelberg
Rachel likes to think of herself as a nice Jewish girl, dedicated to doing what’s honorable, just as her parents raised her to do. But when her husband, David, survives a plane crash and is left with severe brain damage, she faces a choice: will she dedicate her life to caring for a man she no longer loves or walks away?
Their marriage had been rocky at the time of the accident, and though she wants to do the right thing, Rachel doesn’t know how she is supposed to care for two kids in addition to a now irrational, incontinent, and seizure-prone grown man. And how will she manage to see her lover? But then again, what kind of selfish monster would refuse to care for her disabled husband, no matter how unhappy her marriage had been? Rachel wants to believe that she can dedicate her life to David’s needs but knows in her heart it is impossible.
Crash tackles a pervasive dilemma in our culture: the moral conflicts individuals face when caregiving for a disabled or cognitively impaired family member.
Advance Praise for Rachel Michelberg
“…an engaging exploration of duty, guilt, and self-preservation. Michelberg is a frank writer…. continually willing to unpack her guilt while also exploring options for her own emotional survival. A clear-eyed consideration of difficult ethical and familial choices.”-Kirkus Reviews
“I couldn’t put this book down . . . Rachel Michelberg gives the reader the gift of unfiltered honesty, without excuses or complaints. She shows us how the clarity of a scrupulous heart can guide us through the worst of times. Crash is an important story told by a remarkable storyteller.”-Joanne Silver Jones, author of Headstrong: Surviving a Traumatic Brain Injury.
“I read this book cover to cover and then finally remembered to breathe. Crash is a profoundly human story told with grace and raw honesty. Michelberg is courageous enough to put all of herself into the pages, and we are all the better for it. Crash will stay with you–in your mind, heart, and gut–for a long time after you finish it.”-Mark Lukach, author of My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward.
“Crash is a skillfully written, riveting account of Michelberg’s struggle to sustain herself and her family after a tragic event radically alters their lives. As a mother, she is protective, resourceful, and competent as she boldly guides her family forward. Vigilant and vulnerable, she exemplifies a woman who speaks her truth, however hard that is to bear. Crash will challenge your own sense of what is important in fighting for a family’s well-being.”-Anna Penenberg, Amazon best-selling author of Dancing in the Narrows: A Mother-Daughter Odyssey Through Chronic Illness.
About Rachel Michelberg
Rachel Michelberg grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and still enjoys living there with her husband, Richard, and their two dogs, Nala and Beenie. She earned her Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance from San Jose State University and has performed leading roles in musicals and opera from Carmen to My Fair Lady and the part of the Mother Abbess (three times!) in The Sound of Music.
When Rachel isn’t working with one of her twenty voice and piano students, she loves gardening, hiking, and making her own bone broth. This is her first book.
This giveaway is open to the U.S. only for the choice of print or eBook for each winner. It ends on May 18, 2021, at midnight pacific time. Entries are accepted via Rafflecopter only.
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