The Blood on My Hands by Shannon O’Leary is the true story of a child with a serial killer for a father at whose hands she suffered the most horrific abuse.
The Blood on My Hands is the autobiography of Shannon O’Leary (the author has used pseudonyms in the book order to protect her family) about the horrific childhood she endured where the authorities of the time did nothing and the abuse didn’t stop for 49 years.
Shannon O’Leary grew up in 1960’s and 70’s Australia in a Catholic family and was subjected to horrific brutal psychical and sexual abuse, psychological abuse and witnessing domestic abuse and serial murder. This book tells her true story.
The book starts with the line “I have felt the cold steel of a gun in my mouth and against my temple” which lets you know from the start just a very small snippet of the childhood endured by the author and grabs your attention straight away and despite the harrowing subject matter I couldn’t put it down.
Before being asked to read this book I had never heard of Shannon O’Leary, but after reading this book it is a name I shall never forget. Although the book is her memoirs of the abuse she, and her family, suffered at the hands of the man who should have been there for her and loved her the most; her father, it is also a story of courage, resilience and survival.
The Blood on My Hands covers the early childhood life of the author. Her father, who had an undiagnosed split personality disorder, took great pleasure in physically and mentally tormenting his family. He was a violent, brutal sadist and serial murderer! On many occasions Shannon was forced to watch him brutally murder pets and people, including the murder and beheading of a young woman. At the age of 4 she first contemplated suicide.
Despite reports to police and doctors and the school nuns having an idea of abuse at home nobody did anything as deemed a domestic matter (thankfully things have changed for the better these days). Her father was never charged with any crime!
Despite her traumatic childhood she managed to grow up into a successful and functioning adult; she has been a teacher and is a prolific writer and performer, singer/songwriter, children’s book author, producer and poet.
Overall, The Blood on My Hands is a traumatic autobiography about a child and her family suffering horrendous physical, mental and sexual abuse. How this little girl survived it to become successful and functioning adult raising a family of her own is a testament to the mental strength of this child. She endured a torture that adults wouldn’t cope with, never mind a child. Her father ruled her life with barbaric cruelty.
This book was a heart-breaking read but a riveting one, I read the book in a day. It is extremely well-written and despite the subject matter it is an engaging read and a true story. It is intense and doesn’t pull any punches.
A very powerful book and extremely interesting read. You will be moved by this story. It is impossible for me to convey the true horror that this child and her family went through, you will have to read the book for yourself.
RRP: £8.99 (paperback)
Available to buy from Amazon here.
Disclosure: I was provided with a free copy of this book for the purposes of writing an honest and impartial review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
About the Author:
Shannon O’Leary is a prolific writer and performer. She is the author of several books of poetry and children’s stories, and she has won many awards for song-writing.
Shannon has acted and directed on the stage and on Australian national TV, and she runs her own production company.
She has numerous graduate and post-graduate degrees in education, music, and science. She is a teacher and academic, has five children with her deceased former husband, and lives with her longtime partner in Sydney, Australia.