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The Full Catastrophe: A Memoir Paperback – April 5, 2016
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"The Full Catastrophe is a thought-provoking story that gives a brutally honest view on self-resurrection.”
“The perfect mix of a psychological study paired with inspirational self-help."
“A book you’ll definitely want to read this Spring.”
― The Berry
“Lee’s memoir is part Jungian philosophy, part dream analysis, and all-around compellingly true story about a woman’s ability to heal and resurrect her life after the death of her abusive husband.”
― Inside Chic
“Honest and raw with an empowering message for women who are in abusive relationships of any kind.” ―San Francisco Book Review
"[The Full Catastrophe] will have you wanting to start your own dream journal as you follow Ms. Lee on her journey!”
“[Lee] became a strong woman by overcoming what she went through and not letting it hold her back.”
― Crossroad Reviews, 5 star review
"Written in retrospect, Lee's plight may help other women in similar marriages find the strength to leave a toxic relationship.”
― Kathy Nester, Penny for My Thoughts
“For those who are willing to learn, to grow, to look at themselves and to (at least try) to change where necessary, astrology can be extremely valuable, even in its simplified, sun-sign form. I’d like to say that those amazing coincidences between Karen’s life and the readings I gave her are entirely proof of astrology’s veracity.”
—Jonathan Cainer, astrologer, Daily Mail
“Karen Lee has laid bare the isolating reality of living in an abusive relationship. Her experience of feeling conflicted about wanting a loving connection with Duncan, while at the same time recognizing the unhealthy nature of her relationship, is a common experience for women in abusive relationships. This book also sheds light on ‘upscale domestic violence’―an insidious, misunderstood, and often not talked about situation that happens to women who appear to have financial and social resources. I applaud and am grateful to Karen for writing this book and sharing her experience. It will help other women experiencing domestic violence and will help all of us to support victims of domestic violence, whatever their socioeconomic background.”
—Andrea Silverstone, Executive Director of Peer Support Services for Abused Women
“A beautifully written, frank, thought-provoking portrayal of a difficult and at times harrowing journey through uncertainty, fear, and abuse. This honest and courageous self-reflection will lead readers to re-think and re-examine their assumptions and beliefs about their own life stories.”
—Dr. N. Ogden, PhD, Professor, Mount Royal University, and Co-Director, Centre for Child Well-Being
“Captivating and often profound, Lee’s The Full Catastrophe eloquently expresses the complex journey of her marriage to a larger-than-life, charming, yet violent man who dies before she’s ready to let him go. Wise and full of gorgeous detail, this is a brave, self-aware, and compulsively readable memoir. In it, Lee has done something rare: she’s told her story with an unflinching eye to her own accountability and with a depth of hard-earned wisdom.”
—Lauren Carter, author of Swarm
“The Full Catastrophe conveys the story of a person who overcame serious adversity of an invisible kind, and not only was able to recover, but also to gain from the ordeal. Through the lines of this book the authentic voice emerges of the unutterable suffering, of the resilience and of the inspirational transformation. A unique document of the indomitable human spirit.”
—Renos Papadopoulos PhD, Jungian Analyst, Prof. Analytical Psychology, Univ. of Essex.
About the Author
Karen E. Lee grew up in rural Southern Ontario, Canada, and is a retired clinical psychologist and management consultant. She has lived in Canada, England, and Hawaii. She received an undergraduate degree in 1970 in anthropology, worked in exploration geology in Toronto and Calgary, and in 1991 became a chartered psychologist in Alberta. She moved to England in 1995, where she lived and worked as an independent management consultant for ten years. Her consulting work and general interest have taken her to many different countries: the British Isles, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, the Czech republic, Greece, Morocco, Egypt, Lebanon and Syria, Turkey, Peru, Nigeria, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Singapore. Today, she helps her husband, Bill, in his jewelry business, volunteers for political concerns, and is on the board of Peer Support Services for Abused Women (PSSAW). She and her husband live in Calgary, Alberta.
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We can become gradually more miserable without understanding the true causes, even the full degree of our suffering, accepting our plights as “normal,” thinking ourselves unable to extricate ourselves. We are inured to our potential for joy. We confuse surface distractions, like professional success and material wealth, with happiness. Such is the plight of Karen Elizabeth Lee at the opening of her exquisite memoir, The Full Catastrophe.
She speaks for many women in this clear, incisive torch of a book. Her confession is as brave as it is inspiring. Her words shine a light on the path, on the slender threads, leading out of the maze of domestic misery inhabited by millions of people. We are all searching for love, it seems, but in so many wrong places.
The story of Ms. Lee’s cascade of sorrows begins in girlhood, recounts verbal and physical assault by two husbands, the rapid decline and death of the second, and much family drama–all while she becomes a highly successful consulting psychologist, undergoes years of psychotherapy and travels the world. She knows whereof she speaks.
Well written in concise prose filled with vivid descriptions of her inner and outer experiences as she treads the path to personal truth, this gorgeous memoir will grab your attention and shake you by the shoulders. A Finalist in the 2016 Indie Book Awards, this spellbinding book will pay you well for your investment of time and attention. You’ll be thinking about its uplifting message long after the reading is done.
At its heart, lies a deft depiction of one of the mysteries and dilemmas of being human: that our inner wounds, and the yearnings of our unmet needs, are often only understood and reflected through interaction, however painful, with others. And the tremendous courage required to examine the reality and illusions of our external world, while trying to heal our inner selves.
In strong prose, Lee reveals the challenges and the victories of embarking on just such a difficult journey. As readers we cheer her on.
Honest and minutely detailed, the author underscores that while it takes but an instant to submerge into dissociation, decades are required to swim ashore. Shattered by her family's abandonment of her to a pedophile, the author amplifies her ultimate high dive to happiness.
Eleanor Cowan, author of : A History of a Pedophile's Wife: Memoir of a Canadian Teacher and Writer