Book Review: PTSD

PTSD:  A Spouse’s Perspective How to Survive in A World of PTSD, by Erica David

[Note:  This book was provided free of charge by BookLook/WestBow Press in exchange for an honest review.]

This book is somewhat mistitled, and it is uncertain whether the author’s approach is deliberately deceptive or unconsciously cunning.  On the surface level, this short book purports to be a guide to women on how to cope with the combat-induced PTSD of their veteran husbands, but this desire to provide help and encouragement is undercut continually by the author’s almost desperate desire to escape from what she views as the intolerable situation of living with a spouse with PTSD.  As someone who has coped, however successfully it is not my place to judge, with PTSD for my entire life [1], I am sure that the author has no picnic coping with a spouse with PTSD.  Yet the author, who herself struggles with both primary and secondary PTSD and major depression, is surely no picnic to deal with either, and given her continual victim stories about herself and her villain stories about her husband, this book is tough to read with anything approaching justice, seeing as its portrayal is so transparently unjust to her husband.

The contents of this book reflect the schizoid divide of the author’s intents in this book.  On the one hand, the author has read some good books [2], and gives worthwhile advice on how a wife can let her children know about the struggles a veteran is dealing with in the aftermath of war.  She points out, quite touchingly, the lack of resources that are provided by Veteran’s Affairs to the families of PTSD-afflicted veterans, and also points out the fact that PTSD is something one tends to struggle with for life, and that there are other ways that the syndrome manifests itself, particularly due to rape and abuse.  And fortunately, the book is a short one, although as I read the kindle version of the book quickly, it was hard to tell how many pages the book would have been in text.  Unfortunately, though, this book is full of whiny attempts on the author to justify her own desire to disentangle herself from a marriage that has been unpleasant to her to herself and to the reader, and to avoid the logical implications of the vows that she has made to love, honor, and obey her husband, who does not appear to be the sort of brute the author wishes to paint him as.  One feels sorry for him that he is married to the author, or at least was at the time of writing.  This feeling of compassion for the object of the author’s ire and frustration is probably contrary to the author’s intent.

In reading this book, it was clear that there were at least a few areas where this book could have been vastly improved.  Perhaps all pretense of offering guidance and counsel to other women should have been dropped, as it is clear that the author is not in a place where she can write with the sense of necessary justice and detachment to provide advise to others that is unalloyed by her own bitterness at her own life.  Perhaps the author should have written a straightforward memoir, in order to better process and handle her own life and her own story, and where no pretense at objectivity would have been needed in the author’s mind by the conventions of genre.  This book is not objective in any sense of the word, and reads more like an argument in divorce court than a fair-minded examination on how a spouse can cope with a partner’s PTSD.  In addition, the book would have better served the largely Christian audience of its publisher by seriously addressing the biblical state of marriage and the mutual obligations of husbands and wives.  Perhaps if she did a better job at being loving and gracious herself, she would have less to complain about with her husband.  This book does not serve spouses well, unless they are seeking to use their spouse’s PTSD as an excuse for an unpleasant separation, and those struggling with this horror deserve better from those who love them than the approach of this misguided authoress.

[1] See, for example:

[2] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Love & Marriage, Musings and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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