The Shattered Oak
Overcoming Domestic Abuse and a Misdiagnosis of Mental Illness
Based on a True Story by Sherry Genga
A once vibrant oak tree in her yard began dying, voicing cries of help through its dead leaves and moss-covered branches. Inside the house Barbara too was in crisis, the recipient of her husband’s anger and rage. As time passes Barbara can no longer stay strong. While she deals with her own demons, the oak too weakens. Based on a true story, this woman takes us inside her emotionally charged existence, letting us feel the anguish of domestic abuse, divorce, attempted suicides, and incarceration in a mental institution. A savior finally unravels the mystery surrounding her dysfunctional mental state and leads her on the path to recovery. This book is a must-read for anyone going through domestic abuse or depression, or family members who are trying to make sense out of the situation.
This is an excellent book. We, as physicians, must always question that the obvious answer may not be correct. Medicine is a career of learning, unlearning, and learning anew as new diseases and cures are discovered. We should never avoid questioning a diagnosis or treatment as was well demonstrated by this book. –Mark Tuttle, MD
“Excellent book! I saw the book posted on a Cushion’s disease group listed on Facebook and had to have it. My daughter gave it to me as a present for Christmas. I am so glad I was able to get a copy. I feel like it help me so much. I walked beside Barbara in this book. I saw everything she saw. The oak tree, I cried. This book helped me accept that nothing I did was my fault. Love to you and thank you.” Rowanna Fry-Australia
The Shattered Oak is amazing. It has helped many women who have walked through the doors of DreamLife Recovery. It is one of my most borrowed books. After our clients read it we spend about an hour together processing its contents. Women speak of similarities in their stories and comment on how it is helping them heal from the trauma of domestic violence that lead to their substance misuse/abuse. This book has become a valuable resource for me. –Amy Rhoades MSW, LSW, BSN, RN, Doctoral Student V.P. of Clinical Services DreamLife Recovery
” This book possessed me” I just received the book in the mail, opened it, glanced inside to see how it begins.Did not move until I finished it. Definitely the author’s narration is hypnotic. It is taking some time to return to my normal state of mind. This may sound weird but I am describing as best I can what I have just experienced. I have been a psychotherapist for more than 30 years and I have written several self-help books. And I have read many, many more. Sherry Genga’s The Shattered Oak is like nothing else I have read with the one exception being the novelist, William Styron. This book is only 120 pages. Regardless of your motivation, I suggest that you read it.-Thom Rutledge, author of Embracing Fear. Tennessee
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Book Club Discussion Questions
- What was your initial reaction to the book? Did it hook you immediately, or did it take time to get into?
- What feelings did this book evoke for you?
- Did your opinion change of Innocent after you learned about his childhood?
- Did you feel connected to Barbara? What would you have done to help her?
- What did you like best about the book? What did you like least?
- Did the book change your opinion or perspective about anything? Do you feel different now than you did before you read it?
- What scene was the most pivotal for the book?
- What scene resonated most with you personally in either a positive or negative way? Why?
- Has anything ever happened to you similar to what happened in the book? How did you react to it differently?
- What did you learn from, take away from, or get out of this book?
- Have any of your views or thoughts changed after reading this book?
- What part of the book do you have difficulty understanding or connecting with? Why do you think this?
- If you could “jump into the story right now,” what would you do and why?
- Do any of the characters remind you of friends, family members, or classmates? explain
- What connections are there between this book and your life? explain
- Would you recommend a friend to read this? Why?
- If you got the chance to ask the author of this book a question, what would it be?