Official Review: The Phoenix Rising - A True Story of Sur...

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Poppy Drear
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Latest Review: The Phoenix Rising - A True Story of Survival by Helen Ross Lee

Official Review: The Phoenix Rising - A True Story of Sur...

Post by Poppy Drear »

[Following is an official review of "The Phoenix Rising - A True Story of Survival" by Helen Ross Lee.]
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2 out of 4 stars
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The Phoenix Rising - A True Story of Survival by Helen Ross Lee is a memoir that chronicles the author's journey recovering from a traumatic brain injury that she sustained after a hang gliding accident. In it, the author describes her life thoroughly in the context of how her injury affected her everyday life, as well as her single-minded focus on recovering the function she'd had before the accident, whatever the cost.

Unfortunately, this is a book that gets very bogged down with mundane information, from the specifics of the author's many failed relationships to every potential benefit promised by the alternative treatments she pursued. I even found a section that was copy-pasted verbatim from the blog of a brain training application she used! Too much of the narrative is bogged down with logistical details that just aren't interesting, and the book could've used a few more drafts, which is also shown by the book's many grammatical errors.

Personally, I also found the author's behavior throughout the book a bit maddening. She was injured while trying to perform a very challenging hang gliding maneuver without sufficient expertise, and yet she pins the blame on the people who let her attempt it, rather than acknowledging her own role in the situation. She gleefully praises herself for keying a stranger's car when they took a parking spot her parents had claimed, and when she writes about going to a funeral, the only thing she describes is a conversation with the deceased's brother about her own treatment. I can't say if this accurately represents how she lives her life, but the writing makes the author seem so self-absorbed that I found this book hard to enjoy.

Ultimately, though, there are some genuinely sweet and interesting parts of this book. I liked reading about the author's relationship with her family, and her determination to regain 'normal' function, mentally and physically, is admirable. However, these moments are presented in a rather disjointed way, as the author tends to skip around dramatically between subjects. At one point, she goes from describing her night shift work to seeing a kangaroo be hit by a car to a discussion about tech support scams, and I had a hard time keeping up.

Overall, I rate it 2 out of 4 stars. I wish it had undergone several more drafts to let the author's experiences really shine. For people who are just looking for a success story about the great progress that someone with a traumatic brain injury can attain, this is a good choice. Unfortunately, without a pre-existing interest in traumatic brain injuries, I don't think I can recommend this book to fans of memoirs at large.

The Phoenix Rising - A True Story of Survival
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Post by Splendour0606 »

The errors are really discouraging coupled with the fact that I am not the audience for this kind of story, though I commend your review.

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Stephanie Elizabeth
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Post by Stephanie Elizabeth »

While I like the overall premise of the book, I agree with you, that the author seems to have put too much detail into things that don't necessarily add anything to the story. Your review was interesting and engaging; thank you for the honest review.

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Adanna Inya
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Post by Adanna Inya »

I came away from this review with the notion that the author is rather selfish, self absorbed and thinks that the world revolves around her. I may be wrong though.

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Post by Nujudee »

The book seems like a nice read but with a poor writing plot.
It must have been difficult pulling through.
I'm glad you did

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Michelle Fred
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Post by Michelle Fred »

The plot seems promising, it's too bad it's fraught with extraneous details and errors. I hope the author takes your review to heart and does what needs to be done.

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Post by Sunday diamond »

Though I uses to like any memoir book, but this one with slot of errors and inadequacy may be I should just pass it on. Thanks for that informative review

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Post by Ediomis_Enwongo01 »

The memoir would have been interesting if not for the inconsistencies on the part of the author in her overall layout of the book. Thanks for your great work.

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Post by booksandmagicshop »

I find it difficult to read when authors skip around as well. It's disorienting sometimes. Thank you for the review.
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Post by Namaste23 »

I think when people have traumatic injuries, it's like they cant see past them. They become absorbed with getting better and dont see the world around them. Sounds like this is what happened to the author. Thanks for the great review!

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Post by Sheila_Jay »

I do not like people who blame others for what they clearly need to admit was their own personal mistake, like in the case of this author and that turns me off. I will pass this book; however, you did a great review. Thanks!
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Post by Lady-of-Literature »

I hope this doesn't make me look rude, but with your review partnered with the books title, I can see it being a self absorbing read. It is a real shame that she suffered like she did, but I think I'll give this book a pass.

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Post by Frances019 »

I might give this book a try since I like reading about relationships and crazy behavior, but not sure since that's time I could spend on something better. Thanks for the honest review.

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