ARC Book Review – The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein

thetraumaTitle: The Trauma Cleaner: One Woman’s Extraordinary Life in the Business of Death, Decay, and Disaster
Author: Sarah Krasnostein
Publish Date: April 10, 2018 by St. Martin’s Press
# of Pages: 336
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Buy it*: Am10azon


(From Goodreads) Husband, father, drag queen, sex worker, wife. You’ve got to hear Sandra’s incredible story.

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. Audible’s editors fell in love with Sandra because of her warmth, humour and grace, and we think you will, too.

About the book

Sandra Pankhurst founded her trauma cleaning business to help people whose emotional scars are written on their houses. From the forgotten flat of a drug addict to the infested home of a hoarder, Sandra enters properties and lives at the same time. But few of the people she looks after know anything of the complexity of Sandra’s own life. Raised in an uncaring home, Sandra’s miraculous gift for warmth and humour in the face of unspeakable personal tragedy mark her out as a one-off and make this biography unmissable.

This is a truly unique book, taking the humanity of S-Town, the beauty of H Is for Hawk and the sensitivity of When Breath Becomes Air to create something of startling originality. Sarah gives listeners a window into a life in a way only unforgettable pieces of writing can.

Due to the nature of some of Sandra’s life experiences there are parts of the book which some listeners may find upsetting.

About the author

Sarah Krasnostein is a writer and a lawyer with a doctorate in criminal law. A fourth generation American and a third generation Australian, she has lived and worked in both countries. She lives in Melbourne and spends part of the year working in New York City. The Trauma Cleaner (Text Publishing / St Martin’s Press) is her first book.


Rating (1-10, 10 is exceptional)
Quality of Writing – 9
Pace – 10
Enjoyability – 10
Insightfulness – 10
Ease of Reading – 9

Overall Rating – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


In The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein, you follow the life of Sandra Pankhurst. Sandra is a lot of things to a lot of people. From husband to wife, drag queen to trauma cleaner, Sandra’s life is intense and a shining example of perseverance.

I absolutely loved this book. Once I started it, I had a hard time putting it down. Sandra’s life is out of this world–she’s seen it all, done it all, and has lived a life that puts Lifetime movies to shame. It was stunning, inspiring, and at times, heartbreaking.

Sandra’s life did not start out with sunshine and roses. She had a rough childhood, struggles as a young adult, and health problems later on in life. Through her struggles, she remained an optimist and unbelievably altruistic. Truly, Sandra is a hero in my eyes. She leads a life of purpose and never stops believing that she deserves the right to be the person on the outside that she is on the inside.

The book was incredibly well-written and fast-paced. I really enjoyed the structure of the book–it bounces back and forth between Sandra’s current life as a trauma cleaner, as well as events throughout the course of her life. Again,  Sandra’s life sucks you in from the very first chapter. It’s hard not to fall in love with her and cheer and gasp along with her triumphs and tribulations.

This book is also deeply insightful. What was it like being a transgendered individual in the 80s? It wasn’t easy, and Sandra’s story weaves this tale in shocking detail. She goes from being a husband to, eventually, a wife. She dabbles in drug use, dives into prostitution, and even tries her hand at funeral directing.

Sandra, seriously, you rock.

The author of this book handled this story with the utmost care and respect and should be deeply proud of this literary achievement.

Have I convinced you to read this book yet? Don’t hesitate–this book is one worthy of your personal library.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing the Kindle version of this book in exchange for an honest review.



None recorded.

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4 thoughts on “ARC Book Review – The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein

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