The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein

The Trauma Cleaner

Husband, father, drag queen, sex worker, wife. You've got to hear Sandra's incredible story.Sarah Krasnostein's The Trauma Cleaner is a love letter to an extraordinary ordinary life. In Sandra Pankhurst she discovered a woman capable of taking a lifetime of hostility and transphobic abuse and using it to care for some of society's most in-need people. Audible's editors fell in love with Sandra because of her warmth, humour and grace, and we think...

Details The Trauma Cleaner

TitleThe Trauma Cleaner
Release DateApr 10th, 2018
PublisherSt. Martin's Press
GenreNonfiction, Biography, Autobiography, Memoir

Reviews The Trauma Cleaner

  • Carol.
    Recently, The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death was popping up in discussion, and I had been toying with a re-read until fortuitously offered the chance to read Trauma Cleaners. What perfect serendipity. Don't you wonder, just a bit, about the secret lives of cleaners? Their tricks for getting out blood? The crazy things they encounter? Sadly, though the blurb makes it sound as if such stories are the focus, the book centers on Sandra, th...
  • Valerity (Val)
    You'll just have to read this one for yourself to understand. It's a multi-layered tale about Sandra Pankhurst, who is nearly impossible to describe without just writing a book about her, as the author has done. She's currently running a business that cleans up crime scenes of all kinds, disasters, drug labs, hoarding situations of property and/or animals, both current and past, scenes which can be filthy, dangerous and toxic. She knows her stuff...
  • Lisa
    The Trauma CleanerOne Woman’s Extraordinary Life in the Business of Death, Decay and DisasterSarah KrasnosteinMY RATING ⭐⭐▫▫▫PUBLISHER St. Martin’s Press PUBLISHED April 10, 2018REVIEWThis story found within the pages of THE TRAUMA CLEANER One Woman’s Extraordinary Life in the Business of Death, Decay, and Disaster was unexpected. I thought the book was about cleaning up after deaths, crime scenes, and hoarders and how one woman f...
  • Marianne
    “And though it must feel like a catacomb in that dark hour, and though every hour behind these blinds has been dark, the house is spinning with movement: mould is travelling up and down the walls, food is rotting, cans are rusting, water is dripping, insects are being born and they are living and dying, Janice’s hair is growing, her heart is beating, she is breathing. Which is to say that this, too, is life. Like the creatures that swim in th...
  • Heather
    3.5/5 stars for this one.I went into this book thinking it would mostly be about trauma cleaning, but it was more than that. This book offered a handful or so of instances where Sandra was in fact cleaning up after or during a traumatic event. If you've ever watched Hoarders, it is much like that. The squalor Sandra is responsible for is just disgusting, plain and simple. Sarah Krasnostein told of the mess itself, but also the underlying reasons ...
  • Jaclyn Crupi
    I hope I don't need a trauma cleaner in life or in death but if I do I hope I get one like Sandra Pankhurst. This is a unique Australian memoir; one where the author subtly inserts herself into the telling of a life not her own. Sandra is and has been so many things: trans, father, step-mother, husband, drag queen, sex worker, wife, businesswoman. She has experienced horrendous violence and many traumas and she has inflicted trauma on others, nam...
  • Tori (InToriLex)
    Find this and other Reviews at In Tori LexActual Rating 3.5Sandra is a incredible woman who has learned to be herself while dealing with the dangers and discrimination that comes when people know who she is. The book goes through Sandra's life while describing the trauma cleaning jobs Sandra manages with her cleaning crew.  She experiences serious crisis throughout her life when she lived as a male and later a woman.  Sandra however is a unreli...
  • Text Publishing
    ‘Sarah Krasnostein has written the story of her friend Sandra in a respectful way, detailing every reinvention Sandra made in her personal and professional endeavours. Readers will find Sandra’s story emotional, shocking and triumphant. It is the true story of a remarkable and resilient human being.’ Good Reading ‘A book that is as hard to read as it is hard to put down. A story of pain and loss and loneliness, of trauma and transformatio...
  • Michael Livingston
    A brilliant portrait of an amazing person. Krasnostein stumbled across Sandra Pankhurst, a professional trauma cleaner with an incredible life story and has crafted a thoughtful, moving and sometimes hilarious biography. Chapters alternate between Sandra's life story and snippets of her current life (and the lives of the people that she's cleaning up after). It's a smart structure and Krasnostein is a sympathetic and sensitive biographer - this i...
  • Tanyia
    What an unusual and extraordinary life, beautifully told by Krasnostein. Just loved this.
  • Odette
    I devoured this book in just over a day, feeling very compelled to keep reading. It is the story of the amazing life of Sarah Pankhurst and what she was able to achieve with such a disadvantaged start in life. It also includes little excursions into the lives of the people whose houses she cleans, including hoarders and victims of crime.The trauma cleaner gave me much to think about, including the notion of an unreliable narrator. Parts are very ...
  • Paul Lockman
    My 3 star rating is a little out of whack with the majority of opinions on this book. I think it was an excellent debut novel and Sandra's life and background is certainly very interesting and the author moves skilfully between Sandra's biography and her current work. I suppose the main reason for my low rating is that I just wasn't all that interested in the 'trauma cleaning' she does for a living. While the book didn't have a wow factor for me,...
  • Kathleen
    One client of the trauma cleaner defends the reading preferences on her overburdened shelves, "Anything which shows the human strength under the most appalling circumstances helps me to survive." Many people who read The Trauma Cleaner may be drawn to it for the same reasons. It's not an easy story to read. I have a coworker who does not share my reading tastes because she looks for uplifting reads, and she sees some of my selections are very hea...
  • Debbie
    "The Trauma Cleaner" is mainly a biography of the person currently going under the name Sandra Pankhurst. He was born a boy, was adopted as a baby into an abusive family, married, and had children before abandoning his family to pursue life as a female. During this period, he went by several different names and did a variety of jobs, including drag queen and prostitute. He underwent gender reassignment surgery to become a woman and has had a very...
  • The Captain
    Ahoy there me mateys! Though this log’s focus is on sci-fi, fantasy, and young adult, this Captain does have broader reading tastes. So occasionally I will share some novels that I enjoyed that are off the charts (a non sci-fi, fantasy, or young adult novel), as it were. I received this non-fiction eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. So here be me honest musings . . .I discovered this book looking into St. Martin’s Press’ ...
  • Kate
    This book. Wow.Harrowing. Courageous. Repulsive. Compelling. Heartbreaking. Uplifting. Fascinating.The Trauma Cleaner, like its star, Sandra Pankhurst, is genre-defying. Author Sarah Krasnostein shadowed Sandra over a number of years, observing her day-to-day activities and recording the story of her life before she was a cleaner. And that story is remarkable – Sandra was a husband and father, drag queen, sex reassignment patient, sex worker, b...
  • Jennifer (JC-S)
    ‘We specialise in the unpleasant tasks that you need to have taken care of.’Sandra Pankhurst is a trauma cleaner. It’s work that she’s been doing for twenty years: at crime scenes, after floods, for real estate agents, for charitable organizations and for executors of deceased estates. Sandra also cleans for individuals, in cases of long-term neglect where health issues or hoarding have rendered homes barely habitable or worse.Sarah Krasn...
  • Lolly K Dandeneau
    via my blog:"Of course, Sandra’s skill at making others feel secure also eliminates a whole host of threats to herself and optimizes her ability to move forward with her work and with her life, because Sandra is a virtuoso at survival."This is the sort of true life story that makes me ashamed of all the things I get depressed thinking of or complain about in my life, that seem so much bigger than me at the...
  • Emmy Gregory
    I did not like this book. I saw it and thought: that sounds like a really interesting job! I'm up for reading about that. It was not a book about trauma cleaning. It was basically a misery memoir (I wouldn't have picked it up if I knew this) with several of the most irritating features that sometimes pop up in biographies. Let's get the issue of gender out the way first. Sandra, the subject of the book, is a trans woman, and the narrative delves ...
  • Nancy
    Finished: 17.04.2018Genre: non-fictionRating: A+++Review:Who is Sandra/Peter? She is a is a transgender survivor of a dysfunctional childhood, a husband, wife, father, svelte star of many brothels and a savvy businesswomanwho runs an industrial cleaning service.What did I learn from Sandra?Keep your life uncluttered...keep only what makes you happy.Sandra: “I’ve made an executive decision. This is shit”... and we are tossing it out!Who was ...
  • Tracey Allen at Carpe Librum
    I watch a tonne of cleaning and hoarding shows; you name it, I've probably watched at least one episode. (See review here for a list: So, when I learned there was a biography about Victorian based trauma cleaner Sandra Pankhurst, I was immediately onboard. And that was even before I learned just how fascinating a life she has led. In her life, Sandra has had several names, been a husband, father, drag qu...
  • Tegan
    This book held some unexpectedly wonderful quotes and values that I think are really important and are demonstrated beautifully here. I personally really enjoyed hearing the little bits of recount given about trauma cleaning as that is what primarily drew to me to this book. However, "little bits" is sadly an accurate description. It seemed to be lacking a lot of the grizzly details of the job involving death which I expected from the title. This...
  • Ruth
    This is definitely my pick of 2017Half the book is a fascinating account of the job of a trauma cleaner; the kind of jobs they do and the people that they meet. There are captivating interviews with their clients, particularly the hoarders at varying levels of denial. Sandra, the head of the company, is witting and saucy - a real character.The other half of the book is Sandra's back story. Sandra was born biologically a man. Her story is a fascin...
  • Anna Baillie-Karas
    Wow. I read this in a day - I could not put it down. It’s the story of an extraordinary woman, told with compassion, insight and a beautiful writing style. We learn of Sandra’s heartbreaking past, in between visits to her cleaning clients. Her care for & non-judgment of them, and her incredible resilience and humour, are moving. We meet people living in squalor, neglected victims (or survivors?), their houses a ‘living death’. It’s also...
  • Romany
    This book deserves a million stars. To think this incredible woman’s story might have gone untold! And that all the smaller stories of the people who had died and who were burying themselves might also have gone unnoticed... it’s a miracle of a book. It’s also heartbreaking, and a list of all the ways people mistreat each other. But Sandra just shines.
  • Molly
    I had no idea what this book would turn out to be when I started reading it. I've always been fascinated by jobs that surround traumatic events or mental illness, and "trauma cleaner" sounded like it fit the bill. Initially, I expected this to be a straightforward, workhorse biography - I thought it would just paint a day-to-day picture of the job in the title, exploring a few specific situations and explaining how one comes to be a member of suc...
  • Ashley Rae
    In The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein, you follow the life of Sandra Pankhurst. Sandra is a lot of things to a lot of people. From husband to wife, drag queen to trauma cleaner, Sandra's life is intense and a shining example of perseverance. I absolutely loved this book. Once I started it, I had a hard time putting it down. Sandra's life is out of this world--she's seen it all, done it all, and has lived a life that puts Lifetime movies t...
  • ns510
    What an intriguing read. Sandra Pankhurst is a fascinating woman who has led a tumultuous and challenging life. Each step has not been easy for her. From a neglected childhood with beatings galore, to coming to terms with her identity and living life as a transgender woman and sex worker in 1950s-60s Australia, life has not been kind. But she is a survivor, and has forged her way through to a successful career built on compassion towards stranger...
  • Marlish
    To say I love this remarkable biography doesn’t cover it, at all. It’s a story deserving of much more than five stars! how about one thousand stars! Its far from an easy read, in fact, at times it was hard and to be honest I suspect the subject matter will stay with me for a long time. Sarah Pankhurst is a beautiful, sophisticated, and remarkable woman who despite her ill health and many adversities, deals with her clients with true compassio...