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Fractured: My Journey Back from Death and the Lessons I Learned Along the Way

Elizabeth Antonucci
easp publications (2017)
ISBN 9780998910406
Reviewed by Kimberly Luyckx for Reader Views (09/17)

This is a story for anyone who has been afraid. It is a handbook for anyone who has been challenged by life’s difficulties. It is also a testament to bravery and acceptance. “Fractured” is Elizabeth Antonucci’s own story of discovery, rebirth and purpose.

It begins with a tragic accident involving Elizabeth and her four friends. Never expecting to fully recover, Elizabeth spends months in hospitals and rehab facilities coping with severe injuries and the image of a horrific experience that consumes her mentally. As she slowly makes her way back to health, her family, friends and her love of theater keep her supported. She discovers that the near death experience she had was a lot closer to the end than she first realized. As she tells the tale, she faces the truth of her connection with the friend who has been killed in the accident and her own reawakening. Elizabeth’s recuperation takes shape thanks to her attentive family and doctors. But true healing occurs when her new puppy and her spiritual healer redirect her time and energy toward concerns outside herself.

Part One of “Fractured” tells the story of Elizabeth’s accident and her road to recovery. While it is reflective and even inspiring at times, the scenario falls flat when it becomes merely an account of events, specifically when details of the accident are relayed. However, there are many examples of rich narrative detail, especially when she describes her unconscious dream state. Here the author evokes an ethereal, almost heavenly quality that makes for an interesting read.

While I believe that many will benefit and be inspired by Elizabeth’s story, this is a young person’s perspective that may not connect well with older readers. Having said that, Elizabeth exhibits insights and wisdom beyond her years. A good example of this is when she describes her return to college for a play, “I wasn’t really present…something wasn’t allowing me to be fully grounded and in my body, probably a defense mechanism to prevent too many emotions from coming back.”

Part Two, in my opinion, is when things really get engaging. It is my favorite part of the book and can definitely stand alone as its own piece of work. In it, Elizabeth provides information on “Lessons Learned” where she shares her thoughts and observations after the accident. In one account, she reveals her negative body image and how it leads to her obsession with dieting. This circumstance is documented and explained so that the reader can truly understand the tragedy involved with an eating disorder. Like her accident, she is devoted to healing this condition. She transfers her negative talk into positive talk and looks to the joyful things in life by vowing to establish a “happiness diet.” These are all ways of coping that parents hope to provide for their own children who suffer with this affliction. Having young daughters myself, I was attentive to the author’s perspective.

Elizabeth follows suit with other difficulties she has faced: dumbing down to fit in, date rape, controlling boyfriends and the pitfalls of social media. As Elizabeth struggles with finding her voice and standing up for herself, I can relate as a woman and a mother. This is definitely a book that I will be passing on to my daughters. If you or someone you know has already experienced some of these issues, it is a reference that can provide support and assurance that you are not the only one. If you are currently struggling with these problems, then it will be a wake-up call. And, for all others, it’s a pre-warning and a preparation for future situations. Either way, Elizabeth is a lovely writer who describes well life’s stumbling blocks.

“Fractured: My Journey Back from Death and the Lessons I Learned Along the Way,” is not only a story of a girl who survives a terrible accident, but a narrative of purpose and deep reflection on a young life. Elizabeth Antonucci is a courageous woman who has the tenacity and drive to continue on the path for which she feels she is destined. Told with wisdom and vigor, her book recounts ten years of consideration on a traumatic life experience that changed her for the better. As the author herself explains it, “I had to rebuild the person I knew I wanted to be.”

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