Monday, March 29, 2010

Wrecked by E. R Frank

Anna Lawson doesn't like parties and she usually doesn't drink. But this time it would be different. Instead, Anna decided that she would drink and try to mingle more. When she sobers up, Anna drives her intoxicated friend Ellen Gerson home. Except they don't make it home. Instead, they are involved in a serious car accident that leaves Anna with minor injuries, critically injures Ellen and kills Cameron Polk the driver of the other car. Frank describes in detail, Anna's experience immediately after the car crash. These details are important because they help us to understand what Anna experienced and how they affect her later on.

And I keep hearing that screaming and screaming and screaming and screaming, and then I hear the screaming stop, and instantly I vomit all over myself and all over Ellen's head.

But Anna's injuries are much deeper than anyone, including herself ever expected. Anna struggles to cope with her grief over the death of Cameron, who was her brother Jack's first girlfriend. She knows it was Cameron she heard screaming. She killed Cameron. She is bad, very bad. Will her brother ever forgive her?

There was screaming. Screaming and screaming and screaming. It wasn't Ellen, and it wasn't me. "Hoooow looong, hooow loooong..." And then the screaming stopped. It stopped because the life stopped. Somehow I knew it then. I know it now. I don't need anybody to tell me. I heard the life stop.

Anna experiences flashbacks, nightmares, cold sweats and shaking spells. She struggles daily with feelings of shame, guilt and fear.

Like, I killed somebody. How do you make the fact of something like that go away? How do you make the fact of something like that not nag and poke at you, like somekind of virus that's stuck in your blood, stuck in your cells, stuck in who you are and who you will be forever?

Eventually, after several very public panic attacks, it is Ellen's mother who realize that Anna is "shell shocked" from the accident. When a vacation fails to help, Anna seeks the help of a therapist who uses EMDR (Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) to help with PTSD. These sessions help Anna resolve her guilt and shame from the accident and help her to come to terms with other problems in her life, especially those involving her father.

An excellent book about the issues of drunk driving, underage drinking, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, anger, and family dysfunction. I found the information on EMDR very interesting.
Anna was a sympathetic and real character. It was also interesting to see that Ellen, while telling Anna that she is "messed up" doesn't recognize her own drinking problem.

Book Details:
Wrecked by E.R. Frank
Atheneum Books 2005
247 pp

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