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Holding My Hand Through Hell Paperback – October 4, 2012

4.9 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Holding My Hand Through Hell is life-affirming and thought provoking just like Susan. --Diane Fanning, New York Times best-selling author

A harrowing true story of violence and survival. The specter of Susan Murphy Milano s abusive father followed her into adulthood, and the mental anguish she experienced would have destroyed most of us, but she persevered. This is an inspirational story that should be read by everyone. --Anthony Bruno, New York Times best-selling author

In 1989, Milano's father murdered her mother before killing himself. It was the gruesome end to a long history of abuse that Milano recounts in graphic and heartbreaking detail. Her father regularly raped her when she was a teenager, and beat her mother bloody. Though Milano tried to tell school authorities, no one believed that her father, a decorated police officer, was capable of such acts. To make matters worse, Milano learned after her father's death that he had also been molesting her brother, Bobby, who experienced a psychotic breakdown, as well as neighborhood boys. Milano found some meaning as an advocate for domestic violence victims, speaking for them in court, finding temporary living arrangements, and speaking to the media on their behalf. She posits that she lost custody of her son to his father, Milano's second husband, who abused cocaine, because she angered city authorities by filling a class-action lawsuit on behalf of abuse victims. She married a third time to a man who turned out to be a controlling alcoholic. While difficult to read, Milano's is an important story of the long suffering caused by domestic abuse, yet also inspiring in her belief that God is always with her. --Publishers Weekly, 10/2012

About the Author

Susan Murphy Milano is a specialist and expert in intimate partner violence and works nationally with corporations, faith based organizations, domestic violence programs, law enforcement, and prosecutors providing technical and consulting services in high risk domestic violence and stalking related cases. Her principal objective is to intervene before a victim is seriously injured or killed. Utilizing a procedure which she devised, The Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit, Murphy Milano s clients are all still alive a statistic that is remarkable considering the distinct increase in intimate partner homicides. In addition, she and her work have been prominently featured in newspapers, magazines, radio, and television including: The Oprah Winfrey Show, Larry King Radio, ABC S 20/20, Justice Files, E-True Hollywood, CNN, Sunday Today Show Profile, Women s Day, Family Circle, US News and World Report to name a few. She has frequently participated in guest media commentary panels on major news programs and recently appeared on the A&E Biography of Drew Peterson. She is a well known radio host, regularly hosting The Susan Murphy Milano Show, Time s Up! on the Zeus Media Network, also she appears on Crime Wire on BlogTalk Radio, and is a regular weekly co-host on the nationally syndicated The Roth Show. Her books, Defending Our Lives; Moving Out, Moving On; Times Up! and corresponding strategies are taught world-wide and used by law enforcement, social workers, attorneys, health care workers, human resource departments and domestic violence agencies.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 286 pages
  • Publisher: Ice Cube Press (October 4, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1888160675
  • ISBN-13: 978-1888160673
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,415,907 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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I respect the author's courage and strength, but found the writing rather flat and uninvolving (and in need of proofing). The story was told simplistically, and any introspection the author went through was reduced to her superficial questioning of faith in God. Although she did tremendous good in helping other women, she did not get the help she needed to overcome the trauma she endured. To me this was tragic and very discouraging.
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Susan has most certainly earned the title of "Expert" in matters of Domestic Violence and Intimate Partner Homicide. This book is her gift, her legacy to us as a lesson on how to recognize abusive relationships, both physical, and verbal and emotional.

I am amazed every time I read it (I've read it 3 times now) that Susan was able to share her own experiences so brilliantly in order to spread her message. It's heart wrenching from beginning to end, and you cheer her on through one harrowing experience to the next.

This book will definitely help to put an end to the question "Why doesn't she just leave?" "Holding My Hand Through Hell" very adeptly illustrates that it's never as simple as "just" leaving.
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From the moment I opened the book, I was engaged. Taking me from heart ache to triumph, Holding My Hand Through Hell tells the story of the true "epidemic" of our time...Domestic Violence. Whether man or woman, teenage girl in a relationship or a young man interested in dating, this book is without reservation, a must read!
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Author and victim advocate Susan Murphy Milano's childhood was punctuated by abuse in what was a seemingly average household in a Northwest Chicago suburb. It would define Murphy Milano's life and culminate in a life-changing turning point.

Over the past two years, she wrote about the journey in her autobiography Holding My Hand Through Hell: A Real Life Journey of Hope, Survival, Murder, and Abuse. The book was released by Ice Cube Press on October 3.

It would be Murphy Milano's swan song. She passed away on Sunday, October 28, after a lengthy illness.

Hers is a remarkable, inspirational story that begins as the daughter of a respected Chicago Police Department veteran detective who investigated violent crimes. The family's shocking secret, however, was that her father regularly physically abused her mother and their children. She grew up listening to her father tell her mother, "if you leave me, I'll kill you."

The threat became a reality on a January day in 1989. Murphy Milano, when her mother didn't answer the phone, entered the house to find her mother, Roberta Murphy, dead on the kitchen floor and her father dead in a bedroom of her childhood home. Phillip Murphy, a decorated police investigator, had fatally shot her mother six months after Roberta divorced him. He then turned the gun on himself.

While growing up, as Murphy Milano relates in her memoir, a disturbing pattern had developed in the Murphy household: "My first memory is that of my father Phillip Murphy beating my mother's head against an iron bedrail ... and I, running to a chair, barely able to dial the O for the operator as I placed a call on the rotary telephone in the kitchen for help," she writes.
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Review by Sandra L. Brown, MA
The Institute for Relational Harm Reduction & Public Pathology Education
Holding My Hand Through Hell--What does an early childhood of alcoholism, sexual abuse, and the witnessing of violence in the home produce? For decades psychology has been studying the effects on victims of these impactful early beginnings. What psychology discovered was for some victims they would succumb to addiction, repeated patterns of victim/abuser relationships, or crippling mental illness. These early impressionable years in children's lives often marred their adult futures with the scars of abuse.

And while childhood is the fragile soil from which traumatic imprints can sink deeply into the emotional roots of a victim, what about trauma in adulthood? What happens to adults when unthinkable traumas invade? Or worse--when both a victim's childhood AND adulthood are contaminated with overwhelming pain? What does the trauma tonics of childhood abuse and the added experiences of a murdered mother and a suicided father do to a victim?

From the surface, psychology would 'predict' the victim of these combined traumas would likely develop the emotional catatonia produced from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Early childhood coping mechanisms that were not fully developed because of trauma, gets a double dose as an adult forcing an adult to call on coping mechanisms that were never produced in childhood. This is often the kiss of dysfunction for a victim.

But for the resilient, these trauma tonics produce pioneers.

In the unusual cases of hyper-resiliency, too many traumas often create a metamorphic response turning terror into a piercing intensity of determination.
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By DA on September 23, 2012
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This book was gripping from start to finish. In fact, I read it from cover to cover without stopping. It details the highs and lows of a life in true survival mode. It is a book worthy of your attention and one which may very well save lives.

For me, reading it was painful and chilling. It left me wondering who was really holding her hand through hell. I hope the train to justice continues for all victims of abuse with Ms. Milano as the conductor.
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