Memories and Pain

Michael Ollerich

Publisher: WestBow Press Pages: 110 Price: (paperback) $11.99 ISBN: 9781664271883 Reviewed: April, 2023 Author Website: Visit »

In Memories and Pain, Michael Ollerich shares his experience of childhood sexual and physical abuse and the painful effect it had on his life.

“My life has been dangerous [sic] painful and cruel,” writes Ollerich. Ollerich was sexually abused by a perpetrator he doesn’t name. While this ended in fourth grade, physical abuse by others continued. Although results of this abuse were visible, Ollerich had no memory of the events afterward. At 12 years old, the author obtained a revolver to scare his abusers away. He suffered from nightmares throughout his life.

In high school, he states, “I was enrolled in AP classes and did very well.” At 19, he enlisted in the Army. Stationed in Germany, he joined the military police, where he was involved in various skirmishes and hijinks. After a bus hit the Jeep in which he was riding, he underwent 29 surgeries and was in constant pain. Medically discharged, he enrolled in college, earning a civil engineering degree.

Ollerich married the love of his life. They adopted two children. Throughout his almost 70 years, he suffered serious health challenges, including a stroke, open heart surgery, and gallbladder removal.

Ollerich writes in a stream-of-consciousness style with no organizational structure. The narrative constantly shifts time periods, making the story extremely difficult to follow. Misspellings and grammatical errors are a serious distraction, as are a handful of pages repeated later in the book.

Finally, the author frequently comments on the emotional pain he experiences writing the memoir, which becomes gut-wrenching for readers. In fact, the final sentence reads: “I am stopping the project for now because the pain was too much for me.”

Ollerich valiantly faces his demons here, and the memoir admirably sheds light on the terrors of child abuse and the need for accessible mental health treatment. However, writing issues make this an exceptionally challenging read. While the book will interest Ollerich’s family, it’s unlikely to attract general readers.

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