“This is an excellent book. Learning in school and training in residency may not always lead to the correct answer. 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

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, Tennesee

“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 Byrne MSW, LSW, BSN, RN V.P. of Clinical Services, Indiana Pennsylvania

“A powerful read.. brings life into a completely different perspective. A most read for those interested in learning more about domestic abuse, rebuilding a life and going from misdiagnosis to diagnosis with a lot of triggers along the way. Congratulations Sherry Genga on choosing the most accurate words to share this most compelling journey!”- Tanya Scotece Ph.D., LFD, CFSP Miami

Excellent book!” I saw this book posted on Cushing’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

“What an incredibly powerful and turbulent story about mental illness, abuse, and a mother’s determination to survive. The author gives a compelling narrative, using the poignant metaphor of a strong oak tree that deteriorates along with the main character. The Shattered Oak offers valuable insight to the harsh realities of domestic abuse.” -Kelly W. -New york

This is an extremely touching book, shedding light …

“This is an extremely touching book, shedding light on the whole array of feelings, emotions, and thoughts of a woman who is suffering from parental neglect, domestic abuse, isolation and then physical illness. This arduous journey of such a strong woman reflects the injustices of relationships in this world. Her journey marks the end with positivity, resilience, and compassion. Ms Genga has penned it beautifully.” –Hena Jawaid Australia

“This true story unveils a deep and emotionally laden journey into the web of chronic illness, how our past influences our present and embrace of love and strength by an amazingly beautiful and faith-filled woman and mother. Truly a labor of love. ” -Barbara Meyer

“The most powerful personal story I have read on someone who is going through the emotional breakdowns after domestic violence. Worth the read.” – Charles Anderson

“The book is wonderful“-Karennina Film Producer Vietnam

“A riveting story about mental illness and a mother’s determination to fight her demons on the road to recovery.” – Alan L. Difrancesco

“Mental illness is still a dirty word. Emotional and physical abuse are still something we hide. Put the two of these together and you enter the explosive narrative that is Barbara’s world. I recognized pieces of myself, and parts of those around me. It is an insightful book that removes the shame and secrecy for anyone suffering through illness and abuse. There is help-and if you recognize the symptoms- be that one person to stand up. It can be not only empowering to someone living Barbara’s life, but to someone who knows a “Barbara”. Must Read” -Joyce Lord-Jakobsen

Loved the book… Amazing true story.” – Janise Leighton Brouwer

“Such a powerful story of a journey through a difficult life- challenges faced, struggles overcome, healing achieved. Great read for anyone who has ever faced obstacles in their life.” -Joliene Deskus

“Gives you a insight to abuse and mental health. Amazing what one can endure and how one can over come abuse to find happiness. A must read – you’ll never look at trees the same way again.” -Amazon customer

“The clever use of symbolism throughout the book helps the reader bond emotionally with Barbara.  The vivid descriptions of the scenes allows the reader to feel like they are right there with Barbara in those moments of distress to get a real taste of how difficult her life was in the throes of abuse from her parents, husband, and institution doctors.  Well done!” -Jim Vogel

“I received this book as an ARC and I’m giving an honest review.”

The Shattered Oak is a book which delves deeper into the psychological aspect of an individual’s life. It talks about overcoming domestic abuse and a misdiagnosis of mental illness. Depression, anxiety, panic attacks, abuse, you name it, and the book mentions it. Wait… Here’s the punch line

It’s based on a true story…

The Shattered Oak was my first Non Fiction read and can I just take a moment to say that it thrilled me and shook me to my core! It was a book that took me some time to finish. Not that it was disinteresting. But because it took a lot in me to flip through the pages. The raw and intense emotions which the author brings through this book is just, flawless. I had to gather up all my courage to go through the chapters. Every word penned by the author made me take a step back and appreciate everything life has given me.

Starting from the Title of the book – The Shattered Oak. Well, I think it is safe to say that the title was as deep as the theme of the book and quite literal as well. The Oak Tree has a symbolic value in this book. Barbara, the protagonist of the novel was moulded in such a way that it was impossible not to empathise with her and respect her at the same time.

The book revolved around how every ‘apparently’ trivial thing matters in the long run. How a single incident from your youth or your childhood can mess up your entire life! A difficult childhood can be the cause for some major psychological disruptions in your life. All my fingers will fall short to count the number of things that this book managed to teach me in a mere 116 pages.

The plot of the book was very cleverly woven in such a way that it makes immediate and lasting impact. I adored the writing style of the author. It made me feel as if Barbara and I are having a cup of coffee and she is narrating the story of her tragic life, in person. The novel is so darn powerful that you could feel your emotions running like wild horses.

By the end of the story, my eyes were brimming with unshed tears. The demons which haunted Barbara all her life, were lying naked in front of my eyes and I couldn’t control my wrenching sobs. One of the most heart touching lines in the book was – “It’s hard to give love if you have never been loved.” This one sentence had me staring into oblivion for a solid 5 minutes. I mean, the truth behind this sentence is heart breaking!

The best and the worst part about the book, was that it was based on a true story. Best, because it made the book even more interesting and real. Worst, because it breaks my heart to know that the story was actually, a catastrophic reality of life for someone. On the whole, the book was so raw and intense that I don’t think any amount of words could do justice to this. Due to the triggering stuff in this book, I would like to recommend it ONLY for children above the age of 16 and all those who are not easily triggered by the themes of suicide, depression and mental health.

So, what are you waiting for? Hurry and order a copy of The Shattered Oak from Amazon, Barnes and Nobles or your nearest bookstores. Grab a cup of coffee, a comforter and keep a box of tissues in handy. For this one novel, is sure to take you on one hell of an emotional ride… -Shreya Vijay, INDIA

BUY This Book. Read it. Share It With A Friend. Yeah….It’s That Good! The Shattered Oak, based on a true story and written by Sherry Genga, recounts events in the life of Barbara. Although the author is quick to point out at the beginning of the book that names, dates, and places have been changed, identifying features quickly become unimportant. This story cold happen to any of us. Genga uses a delicate balance of nature, faith in God, and relationships to hard work and family in describing the way in which Barbara deals with tremendous adversity. The reader follows along through a difficult childhood, domestic abuse a the hands of her husband, divorce, depression, attempts at suicide, and eventual healing. Still, it is not an easy journey. At times, the story is emotionally and even physically painful. Genga writes in a way that draws the reader in, causing him or her to feel, and in some ways, to understand how and why domestic abuse can occur. She also explains how we can learn to put the effects of that abuse behind us.

A constant theme of the book is it namesake, a sturdy, yet damaged oak tree. The Shattered Oak represents the strength and stability that Barbara is desperately seeking. At the risk of having to issue a spoiler alert, we’ll just say that by the end of the book, Genga describes a journey that comes full circle. Barbara learns to deal with life on her own terms, often in solitude, and without relying on a fixture such as The Shattered Oak, one that she has unconsciously relied on for perhaps too long.

Through surviving repeated instances of neglect, unreciprocated love, and self-discovery. Barbara gains perspective to see the beauty in the world she had previously sought to escape. Barbara ultimately finds the greatest gift as living a life that does not require validation. The Shattered Oak shows us that sometimes the most unlikely hero will emerge, standing alone and rising tall despite years of storms, wind and rain. The hero is the one who knows they are still worthy of love, affection, and fulfillment-even if they too, like The Shattered Oak, have been harmed by the storms of life. -Jim Steele



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