PTSD: A Spouse’s Perspective by Erica David is a book written from the dual-role standpoint of a woman who is both a spouse of a Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) sufferer and a PTSD sufferer herself. It’s about the struggle spouses may face when a returning Veteran comes home traumatized by war.
The author and her children suffered abuse at the hands of her husband after he returned from the Gulf War, and it took years before they realized what was behind the change in the man they loved. During those years, she ran interference between her husband and her children, as most wives do with abusive husbands, and it took a hefty toll on her.
The main message of this book is that there is help available for Veterans and their families—though not always through the VA—and that even though a spouse may love the PTSD sufferer, and even though it’s not the PTSD sufferer’s fault, staying with an abuser isn’t always the most loving thing to do. Sometimes leaving is the best option when abuse is involved.
PTSD not just for Veterans
PTSD: A Spouse’s Perspective focuses on Veterans as sufferers, even though many other people suffer from PTSD and they and their spouses may be able to make use of this book. Readers shouldn’t rule out this book just because war hasn’t touched their lives. Many things can trigger Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.
Reading it may be helpful to you if you’re married to someone who has PTSD or if you have it yourself. If you have this natural and common result of trauma and you abuse your family (and, even if you don’t have PTSD but you abuse your family), it may help you realize what you’re doing to the ones you love. The book lists resources for both sufferers and their spouses.
My reaction to PTSD: A Spouse’s Perspective
Like many of the ebooks and self-published print books I read, I went through this book thinking, “This book needs an editor.” Every book needs an editor (at least one), of course, but it seemed that this one didn’t benefit from that crucial phase in the publishing process. This book is repetitive and the organization could be better, and there are many typographical errors and other mistakes that would have been caught had it been edited by a professional. It strikes me as a first draft that was written without a good outline, like a long and rambling one-sided conversation with a friend who really needs to dish over coffee. A good start, no doubt—just not ready yet.
If it had been written more succinctly, without those repetitions, the book would be about half as long as it is. (Many writers strive for a high word-count, as if a book has to be long to be good, which is not so. A book can be both short and excellent.) PTSD: A Spouse’s Perspective is a useful book, however, for people who don’t know much (if anything) about PTSD, and it may help a lot of people realize that they are not alone in their struggle to cope with their spouse’s condition.
Erica David succeeds in coming across as the friend who has been through it, saying there is a way to deal with it, even though she states that there is no cure for PTSD. (There is some disagreement in the field about whether or not PTSD can be cured.) Instead of coming across as the friend who is offering you hope, saying you and your spouse will make it through this and come out better people (which is what I was wanting to find in her book), however, she appears to be angry—the friend who needs to vent. There’s also an ominous tone, hinting that you and your spouse will divorce because of the PTSD.
Yes, of course there is plenty to be angry about, and it’s not fair. Still, that’s not very helpful to readers who are looking for both answers and hope. Yes, acknowledge that anger existed; show readers how you got past it and how they can, too. I’d like to see this book be revised, with the resulting version more concise and uplifting. That would make it a faster read while still retaining the value that is there—and adding to it. This book is a good first draft and has potential.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this ebook free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”