The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein

The Trauma Cleaner

Husband, father, drag queen, sex worker, wife. 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.Sandra Pankhurst founded her trauma cleaning business to help people whose emotional scars are written on their houses. From the forgotten fla...

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...
  • Ann Marie (Lit·Wit·Wine·Dine)
    You can read this and all of my reviews at Lit·Wit·Wine·Dine.I’ve been chewing on this review for days and I’m sure I won’t do this one justice. How do you put into words a story that makes your heart heavy with sorrow and full of love, joy, and compassion at the same time? I’d have a hard time formulating an answer the question “what is it about?”. I keep ending up with some sort of grammatically incorrect, run-on gibberish that g...
  • Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
    * are often penned based on popular identities such as celebrities and sports personalities. The Trauma Cleaner is an unusual but illuminating memoir of an ordinary Australian, with quite the extraordinary life. Sarah Krasnostein works to highlight the life and times of Sandra Pankhurst, a woman of many guises. She began life as a boy, grossly mistreated by his family, through to a husband, father, dra...
  • 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 ...
  • Text Publishing
    ‘[A] one-of-a-kind biography.’ Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review Summer Reading Guide‘Absolutely stunning.’ Popsugar‘Through countless encounters with the fetid, the neglected, and the downright tragic, Pankhurst has found meaning and peace, and [author] Krasnostein a singular subject whom she approaches with well-deserved awe.’ Booklist (starred review)‘A transgender former prostitute cleans up the fetid houses of the psyc...
  • Canadian Reader
    I happened upon this work of nonfiction/biography in the new books display at my local library. Knowing little about the book, I was unprepared for the contents. The title and cover photo seemed to suggest that I’d be reading about how the book’s subject got into her unusual line of work, how she performed it, and perhaps how she coped psychologically with it. Well, I did learn about Sandra Pankhurst’s circuitous route to trauma cleaning—...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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 ...
  • Josh
    Overladen with purple prose and a predominant rose tinted narrative; The Trauma Cleaner was a frustrating read. The author's obvious bias towards her subject derailed what was an interesting topic two-fold; trauma cleaning, and gender-transition. While tuning into Sandra's inner turmoil and hardships as she sought her identity was interesting, I didn't like Sarah Krasnostein's putting her on a mantle as a martyr - Sandra has many faults and equal...
  • 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...
  • 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 book 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, ...
  • 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.
  • 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...
  • 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 ...
  • 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...
  • Brooke
    This was not at all what I was expecting. Based on the title alone, I expected it to focus primarily on trauma cleaning, but that was really an aside to the story about Sandra's life. Sandra has had an incredibly difficult and inspiring life, and while I admire and respect her courage and willpower to continue, I feel as though her life story should have been a separate book. There were several times where I considered not finishing this book, as...
  • 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.
  • 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...
  • 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’ ...
  • Jerrie (redwritinghood)
    The best part of this biography is the subject herself rather than the business of trauma cleaning. The author does detail a few of the cleaning clients, but it is mostly about the traumatic and varied life of the woman who runs the business. Her life story is painful and fascinating, but also highlights her resilience. The chapters on the cleaning clients are really used to show her strength in dealing with a life that would have wrecked others.
  • Christopher Jones
    This MAGNIFICENT book is a TRUE gift thank you from the bottom of my heart Sarah Krasnostein for your amazing fantastic incredible insight into Sandra Pankhurst’s life, and THANK YOU Sandra Pankhurst for letting your story be told ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤ This MAGNIFICENT book is a TRUE gift thank you from the bottom of my heart Sarah Krasnostein for your amazing fantastic incredible insight into S...
  • 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...
  • Laura Edwards
    I received a copy of this book through a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for my honest review.Disappointing. Mainly because I was expecting a more straightforward non-fiction book about the intricacies of the job. "The Trauma Cleaner" is really more a biography of Sandra Pankhurst, including her childhood and youth which have nothing to do with the job of trauma cleaner. The synopsis on the giveaway was not as detailed as the book synopsis (which ...
  • Stephanie (That's What She Read)
    This was the biography of a very fascinating woman, Sandra Pankhurst, who works as a forensic cleaner. The focus on the story was definitely more on the life of Sandra than on the work that she currently does. She has definitely led an interesting life as a trans-woman, a performer, a madam, a funeral director and now, a cleaner. There would be chapters about her cleaning in between the biographical chapters, and while it was interesting, I think...
  • 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...