Shut Up, Helen

Helen Rose 
Mokwa’s Peacock Publishing (2015)
ISBN 9780578162409
Reviewed by Nicollette Violante for Reader Views (01/16)

“Shut Up, Helen” is the true story of the author Helen Rose, and her daughter Johnna. Helen and Johnna find themselves in a horrific car accident, but that is only the beginning of their struggles. Dealing with lawyers, medical providers, and insurance companies in the aftermath of that accident prove to be more horrific than the accident. A short read, along with pictures of both the accident and their injuries (not graphic), “Shut Up, Helen” demonstrates systemic failure and the importance of being your own advocate. Short, engaging, and unfortunately no resolution or happy-ending, “Shut Up, Helen” offers helpful advice and lessons when navigating complex and bureaucratic medical and political systems. 

The writing is simple; I felt like I could hear Helen Rose speaking and telling the story out loud. The book is also organized and in chronological order; Rose outlines and recounts her experience of the accident and the aftermath with the insurance companies, lawyers, and medical personnel. Her writing is direct and honest, which makes it possible to finish this short book in less than an hour. The chapters are also short which makes the story go by fast.

I could relate to this book on a personal level; I had a rock climbing accident four years ago and needed surgery on my foot. It was hard enough navigating the medical and insurance system, I can’t imagine having to have to “prove” that my injuries were real to people who are just trying to fill their own pockets and save a buck. “Shut Up, Helen” showed me that my situation could have been worse, and opened my eyes to a totally different world and situation, one that I would never want to be in. This book speaks volumes on systemic failure and insatiable greed; I sincerely hope that Helen Rose and her daughter receive closure and a satisfying resolution to this ordeal.

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