When Samuel was 15, he took on an odd job one Summer moving boxes, and had an accident that changed his life forever. One of the boxes had an improperly stored jar of sulfuric acid which exploded and splashed his face and body, scarring him for life. He was lucky to be alive, and to still have his sight, but his road to recovery, emotionally and physically, meant his life was changed forever.
The tagline of this book is “my unexpected journey with trauma, burns and recovery”, and this is Samuel’s true story. He’s a speaker and a writer about trauma and survival, and this book is both moving and heartbreaking. But also hopeful.
The thing that struck me the most was how Samuel’s journey and recovery felt familiar to me. I haven’t been through anything like what he has, but I found it so relatable, and it made me think that we’re never as alone as we feel. For example, he said that at school, people and his friends didn’t know what to do or say, so they kind of melted away. A friend of mine who was recovering from cancer said the same thing to me, and I know in my own life not everyone is there for you when life gets real. Samuel also asks a lot of questions about why this happened to him, and no one seems to have answers. There are times when we’re asking people around us, who haven’t had our experiences, to help us process and understand them, and often they don’t have answers. People also say some very uncomfortable or stupid, unhelpful things to him. There are several examples like this, where his road to recovery mirrors feelings and experiences of grief and recovery that we can all understand and relate to, in different ways.
I think that’s so important, having these stories, not as a means to gawk at someone, but as a way to show us what this road looks like. Maybe most of us will never go through something like this, though many of us also will, but I think the things he talks about in this book are a great insight for anyone going through something that changes the path we think we’re on, that alters the life we thought we were going to have. And Samuel put this in really easy to read, logical and short chapters. His writing style isn’t overly simple and is really accessible. I feel like the personality of the author comes across really well, a likable, very human person, and he doesn’t try to glorify himself or make out that he was a perfect kid. He’s a human being having a terrible experience, and finding a way to live with it.
He also talks a little about how it effects his family and conversations he had with them. I felt a lot of warm feelings towards them, especially his Mom, who seems like an amazing, strong person.
(A quick thing to note, Samuel is a Christian and talks a little bit about his spirituality. I am not a Christian and this is not a book about religion, but it’s an element of Samuel’s story that’s worth noting)
I found this book comforting and thought provoking, and I think it’s a good one to read if you’ve ever been through something in your own life, or know someone who has, and want to learn about grief and trauma. It’s a hard read in some ways because it’s about an upsetting event, but it’s also about recovery, and that’s always hopeful.
Thank you to the author who sent me this book for honest review. If you’d like to know more about Samuel Moore-Sobel and his work, click HERE. Can You See My Scars is available on Amazon, or on the publishers site HERE.