Tearing Down the Wall
Sharon M. Katzman
Outskirts Press (2010)
Reviewed by Marissa Libbit for Reader Views (11/10)
“Tearing Down the Wall” is the author’s true account of her recovery from a terrible accident that caused severe brain injury. While a college student Ms. Katzman was in a car accident that resulted in injuries that she would struggle with for years. She had to relearn basic skills that we take for granted. After much time in the hospital she received rehabilitation services with many surgeries to follow. Though her physical limitations were being addressed and conquered, Ms. Katzman struggled with emotional issues that resulted from her injuries. Finding it hard to control her emotions or socialize while still maintaining her work proved a challenge not easy to overcome, especially as her outward physical problems diminished and people could not easily explain her outbursts. Yet, Ms. Katzman never stopped her recovery journey, pushing forward to earn a master’s degree in technical communication and proving that it is not what life hands you that matters, but how you respond to it.
“Tearing Down the Wall” is a straightforward account of the facts of Ms. Katzman’s life from the accident to current times spanning almost twenty years. She explains her injuries clearly and the restrictions they placed on her life. She glossed over some serious emotional times such as the demise of relationships with people in her life, but I suppose that was for personal reasons. That information may have given the reader a more complete picture of the author. However, the reader does get a clear understanding of how her injuries affected her relations with co-workers. “Tearing Down the Wall” refers to a song by Kansas, “The Wall.” Ms. Katzman speaks of the wall in this way, “…The parts I heard the most were the frustration, the loss of the person I was, and the wall built of many barriers- cognitively, psychologically, and emotionally- my disabilities and weaknesses, things from which I could never seem to grow beyond.” Yet she did grow beyond and perhaps far exceed the expectations of many. She never seemed “woe is me” though she was entitled to. She always moved forward in her growth through understanding, and even studied her own injuries as part of her master’s degree. Ms. Katzman is a woman with determination and heart who strives to make the most of life. I wish her well.