Sandra Pankhurst, subject of The Trauma Cleaner Photo by David Caird
Sarah Krasnostein’s The Trauma Cleaner: One Woman’s Extraordinary Life in the Business of Death, Decay and Destruction is a biographical portrait of a complicated woman. Sandra Pankhurst runs a trauma cleaning service in suburban Melbourne. She and her crew clean up bloody crime scenes, death scenes and cases of extreme squalor (think A&E’s Hoarders). While Sandra’s life in this business is interesting material in and of itself, the book is really about who Sandra is and has been throughout her often pain-filled life. The thread that runs through the book is compassion, both for others and for ourselves, even when compassion is difficult to give.