Women of Spirit: Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Lives

By Susie Mackie

This collection of stories starts out very strongly, but sadly it wore me out pretty quickly. These accounts of strong women facing and overcoming adversity are at times incredibly uplifting. To have endured sexual abuse, violence, bullying and even kidnapping and then find the way to process the emotions, triumph and live happy and productive lives is a testament to these women’s strength of character.

But once you’ve read a few you soon succumb to compassion fatigue and they all start to blur into each other.

Perhaps it’s just me, but after a while I felt like few of these stories really stood out. This is possibly because some go into too much unnecessary detail, and in some cases are a bit confusing in terms of their focus. Some judicious editing would have made an enormous difference.

What these traumatic accounts make you realise though is that every woman has a story to tell, because we all have pain and trauma from childhood and our teen years. And while they’d be interesting to read as individual stories – to explain the driving force behind these women’s desire to help others, say, perhaps on their own personal website – as a collection they’re a bit overwhelming. This much adversity just gets a bit exhausting after a while. Having said that, for anyone who has suffered unresolved trauma, these will be an inspiration. But read them one at a time.