Cover Image: Post-traumatic


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Post-traumatic 3/5 stars..Vivian an Afro latina waif , the unlikable protagonist is a lawyer in a psychiatric hospital. Coming from humble and traumatic roots her success and distancing her from her dysfunctional family is vital. As a trauma survivor she is hyper vigilant and neurotic. She has daydreams of being murdered on the subway. She is constantly judging herself and others harshly. As a trauma survivor I found some parts of the character relatable. She was constantly trying to prove herself in a Eurocentric world. She was obsessive about her weight and internally struggled with her hair texture.As a plus size Afro Latina her struggles were felt. Her hilarious and embarrassing antics made me feel empathetic and dislike her at the same time. I could not get in board with the eating disorder and body dysmorphia which should qualify as a character in this book. There is definitely a trigger warning  for fat phobia as well as colorism, racism, abuse, and a host of other TW. This book was not so heavy it was depressing. The saving grace was Vivian’s relationship with her bestie Jane. Imagine a neurotic Erykah Badu. Vivian’s antics to embarrass and discredit her nemesis Paula a perfect and white “rich bitch “ are the funniest moments in this book. Overall it was a comedic take into a deep dive of mental illness and the psych nurse in me could not hate it.
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I wanted to love this uncomfortable, difficult book but unfortunately despite the gorgeous prose it was a DNF for me. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the E Arc
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This made me uncomfortable in the best way possible. Very raw and honest about ED and SA but also shows the other side of healing and the difficult decisions it takes to heal. I wouldn't recommend it to everyone but it was perfect for me.
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Vivian’s main goal in life at the start of the book is keeping up appearances. She’s able to project that image fairly well in her professional and dating life, but her inner dialogue tells a very different story. Vivian is battling a lot of different demons all at once, and not even she can explain where these feelings come from. Her thoughts are often self-critical, she is jealous of others, and her relationships with friends and family are not where she’d like them to be. 
It took awhile to warm up to Vivian. It’s not that she’s unlikeable, but so much of her personality feels like a performance. She trusts very few people, and the ugly thoughts she has towards others make her hard to love. We read her thoughts that she would never vocalize. We all have these thoughts. It makes her relatable but also makes you want to snap her out of it. She’s bratty. She is self-centered. 
Vivian makes some big changes in her life after a particularly low weekend, and finally we begin to see the walls come down. This was the moment I was hoping for, and I am so glad the author, Chantal V. Johnson, gave her main character the chance to evolve past the woman we met in Chapter 1. Once Vivian has this change in perspective, you know she is going to make it out ok. 
I thought this was an excellent story about coming to grips with your own narrative and how embracing that makes you stronger for it. Though initially I expected more of the book to be focused on Vivian’s career, I was actually very glad it was much more than just a book about a psychiatric hospital. This was real life, everyday, content that will be relatable for so many, and the perspective from which Johnson chooses to tell it felt modern and fresh. I would love to read more by Chantal, perhaps even a sequel to Vivian’s story.
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I really wanted to love this book, but unfortunately it ended up being a Do Not Finish for me. It was decent, but not a captivating read.
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This novel was difficult to get through, but not because the quality of the story was bad; rather, it was the raw and unfiltered look into the character's existence as a person who has lived through trauma that made it an exhausting and at times painful read. The main character, Vivian, experienced trauma in her childhood. Additionally, as a Black Latine woman in our society, she contends with a constant barrage of misogynoir that adds to her stressors. Despite the fact that she is greatly accomplished and talented, she exists in a heightened state of anxiety and low self-worth that flows out of the pages in unyielding waves. It's a lot as a reader to take in, so you can only imagine what it must be like to exist like that, day in and day out. Vivian's defenses and continuous attempts to survive eventually come to a head, and that's where you get a glimpse into the vulnerability that she tries incredibly hard not to show. The story does not take us through a complete journey of healing (and I'm glad it doesn't because that would seem disingenuous), but it provides enough hope to suggest that Vivian can and will find ways to lean into her strengths and connections. That feeling better IS a possibility for her when before it seemed out of reach. Even as it lays the reality of trauma and mental health struggles down reallllllllly thick, I would still consider it to be a hopeful book.
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Thank you to netgalley and the publishers for providing me with an E-ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

It took me a minute to get into this novel because it was uncomfortable, a little stressful, and not at all what I was expecting in terms of plot. That being said, by the time I reached the end of the novel, it had far exceeded whatever incorrect expectations I had going into it. Post-traumatic’s narrative, mostly-internal monologue is skillfully written and offers an important perspective that was gripping and felt lived-in. I have no doubt that this book and, more specifically, the panoply of feelings the experience of reading it invoked, will sit with me for a while.
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"Post-Traumatic" by Chantal V Johnson is a refreshing character study of a life of someone with PTSD. Our attention is focused on Vivan who works as a lawyer in a psychiatric facility and on page one we are fronted with an attack on Vivian by her client and the mess does not cease to follow her.

Vivian is depicted as a fully fleshed out person and the relationship she has with her best friend put a smile on my face. Fortunately, their relationship depicts a bond between two women that aren't pit against each other, rather, two girls that have an everlasting love and respect for one another. CW: Vivian struggles with her body image (ED depictions), her relationship to her direct family (abusive), and searching for a man to love her back... but thats hard to do when it feels like everyone is on the verge of attacking her or sexually assaulting her.

This novel is incredibly nuanced and in my opinion is the most realistic telling of the "post - traumatic" experience.

Thank you to NetGalley and Little, Brown and Company for the eARC; Out NOW!
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I wanted to love Post Traumatic, but it was not my favorite. It has a lot of trigger warnings, but I think the hardest for me to read was the eating disorder and the way the main character thought about food. I think the overall writing was very unique and the author managed to tell the main characters story and explain her trauma in an effective way.
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To say I loved this book is an understatement. This book spoke to the core of what it looks like to live as a survivor and live through trauma. The characters leap off the page and Vivian was such a rich main character. The book is beautifully written and intense but so worth the read. I will say that you need to be in the right headspace to tackle this one though.
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Post-traumatic by Chantal V. Johnson is a vivid and visceral read. The reader is introduced to Vivian, a Black, female attorney representing institutionalized clients who are diagnosed with a range of psychological issues. Vivian experiences constant flooding due to her own Complex PTSD. The book is less focused on plot and more concerned with the experience Vivian is having in her mind and body. The behavioral, psychological and mood changes become more frequent as the self medicating effects of liquor, weed, sex, and work lose their impact. Even the relationships Vivian relies on for support start to crumble and her tendency to daydream prevents her from navigating conflict, especially with her best friend, Jane, proactively. 

The feeling of safety is not just a goal of treating trauma, it’s an important prerequisite to the healing work. We journey with Vivian on her search for stability and we watch her move through the world with the constant flooding of racing thoughts, flashbacks, and re-experiencing of real and perceived threats in the body. 

Vivian’s nightmares get worse everyday and the further she goes into isolation the more she distances herself from family. The reader wonders if the distancing is making things better or more severe. When we meet Vivian’s family at the BBQ we understand why for some people distance is required for survival. I was so happy for Vivian when she finally finds the strength and support to set and honor her boundaries with family. She knows the truth about what happened when she was little and she doesn’t need to remain connected to anyone who would gaslight her or invalidate her experience. 

I appreciated the dialogue around protecting the Black family unit- a value that sometimes makes both starting therapy and sustaining it difficult for many. Jane’s stance that she refuses to cut off her toxic family because- “Family and church were the only reliable structures Black people had” will make the reader evaluate their own values and ideals as it regards mental health and family dynamics that play against that.
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I love books that deal with mental illness and I thought Post Traumatic was a great read and very original yet relatable.

Post-traumatic is a debut novel by Chantal V. Johnson and it tells the story of Vivian, a lawyer who is an advocate for patients who suffer from mental illness.  Yet , Vivian deals with her own mental illness and and self medicates in different ways (relatable to most people who suffer from mental health issues).  The rest of the book tells of Vivian's story as she spirals.

Overall, an interesting read

Thank you to Little Brown and Net Galley for the eARC
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While the Elif Batuman quote made me want to read this immediately, I was ultimately disappointed and did not finish the book. I normally love this kind of contemporary fiction, complicated female narrator dealing with past trauma, especially a woman of color. I like dark humor and an obsessive, observational style. This story largely succeeds in these themes. In particular, the narrator’s controlling tendencies hit the right note, as well as the use of surveillance and camera angle as a way to create tone when the narrator is working at a psychiatric hospital in New York City. 

However, the descriptions of the narrator’s eating disorder were so poorly written and off-putting that I had to stop reading. What makes it even more unfortunate is that these scenes with the main focus on the eating disorder read distinctly bad compared to the rest of the story. The writing is just worse. 

I am generally someone who stays away from eating disorder fiction not because of a personal relationship to it but because I find its use in fiction as a signal for a woman’s control issues trite. This story did not manage to get away from this stereotype. For the narrator in Post-Traumatic, I found her issues with control, obsession, and insecurity already obvious in other aspects of the story so the eating disorder felt too on the nose. 

Also, I also found the reference to explicit weight and size in reference to the eating disorder done in bad taste. 

Maybe I will return to this book if another reviewer can convince me to keep reading but as of right now I do not plan on returning to it. But I can see how this would be a favorite for the right readers and I hope it reaches them.
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Wow. From the very first page, I was highlighting and taking notes. This is such a powerful, intellectual, and perceptive book. I knew I would like this, and the story was so well-crafted that I was engrossed throughout the whole reading experience.  

Johnson's writing is sharp, engaging, and criticizes the US medical and criminal justice system through the lens of a Black woman. 

Highly recommend.
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3.5 stars. Dark yet brimming with dark humor, POST-TRAUMATIC examines trauma and its impact through a refreshingly non-white lens while also serving as a rebuke of the U.S. medical and judicial systems.

Almost everyone in this book is messy, and I don't mean in a bad way. The characters have stuff going on, each going through different things, yet they're rendered multidimensional and complex by yet harming one another in some way, thereby illustrating the impact and often cyclical nature of trauma. The main character Vivian perhaps best embodies this point through her current struggles with various issues - be it insecurity, body dysphoria, an eating disorder, looking to men for validation, infidelity, etc. - borne from her traumatic and abusive childhood experiences. 

I also like how the novel delves into the topic of family, which is even more complicated for POCs as a result of historical exploitation and intergenerational trauma. Is blood truly thicker than water? Can familial bond justify neglecting self-care and having one's boundaries crossed? The author explores both sides of the argument well and this aspect is thought-provoking. 

The exploration of social issues are enjoyable as well, such as the intersectionality of identities and the exploitative medical and justice systems. The former is often darkly comic and witty, and the latter is adeptly shown, perhaps aided by the author's personal and professional experiences. 

Though I personally think the writing could be more distinctive, overall I enjoy this novel. For its representation and the issues it raises and explores, POST-TRAUMATIC is a novel that's long overdue.
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It took a while to get into this book, but by the end, I had a really good sense of the main character and her motivations. Vivian, a thirtysomething public interest lawyer drifting around Brooklyn, is struggling to overcome her abusive childhood and find some sort of balance and community. She spirals downward until she makes the decision to cut off her family; even after that, she freaks out and causes various scenes until she is finally shocked back to reality. I loved the very realistic depictions of her making the right choice for her mental health and cutting off her family while working with a therapist, and hope this book can do more to normalize leaving toxic people behind.
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"Post-traumatic" follows Vivian, a lawyer for a psychiatric hospital. Starting with a scene where she gets attacked by a patient, it perfectly sets out how everything's going to be for her in this book, messy.
Nothing much happens, in terms of plot, the only thing that we (could say) constantly follow is how much she was harmed by her family, them being repeatedly abusive, for sure, influenced what she is today. 
One aspect that I really enjoyed was Vivian being self aware, this isn't something people talk about often but it's very common and it was nice to see how well depicted it was. I was also so intrigued to hear what she got to say, I love it when authors make their characters talk about different topics and just, be smart.
Vivian is was hard protagonist to get into, I think a lot of people are going to put her in the "dislike able mc" list but she's so much more than that. 
Overall, one of my favourites character studies, or just books where we follow a woman through her life and nothing happens, it was "realistic" and a different perspective since it always tends to be a really privileged white woman getting to hate the world with no apparent reason and yes, I do love that, but I love it more when we can get an introspective way as to why someone is the way they are. I hope the author keeps delivering!!
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I thought I was going to love this book, and I ended up just liking it. The books makes a lot of stylistic choices that prevented my full absorption into the story. Post-Traumatic is predominately an internal monologue told from a third person narrative, a structure that lends itself to a lot of explaining/telling rather than showing that resulted in in a lack of reader empathy, despite everything Vivian has and is experienced. The last third of the book felt much more veritable, especially Vivian’s conversations with Lisa, and it redeemed the book as a whole for me. 

Nonetheless, style is subjective and I think a lot of people will enjoy this book.
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This was a stand-out in a month of great forthcoming fiction. The main character is a lawyer in NYC, working with and advocating for traumatized youth. She herself, too, is traumatized -- by her family background and upbringing, her self-loathing, and her seemingly tireless dedication to trying to prove that none of it matters to her, that she is above the emotionality of life. On the inside however she's extremely vulnerable -- she starves herself to appear beautiful to others, especially men, and she seems to be trapped unwittingly in a loop of pretending, keeping herself at a level of remove, then obsessing when relationships do not work out. This was a great coming of age story and I thought it illustrated beautifully what it's like to grow up poor and working class, then to feel alienated from your grown-up, educated and middle-class professional self. It was sad yet with a small spark of hope for self-actualization at the end. Thank you!
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Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for giving me an ARC of this novel. All thoughts on the book are my own. 

I *loved* this book. It follows a young, 30-something, Black Latina lawyer named Vivian as she navigates her life. It's a snapshot in time, roughly a year, of her slow progression into self-destruction. Vivian is a messy, deeply complex, and flawed character. I found her, in many ways, extremely relatable. 

It's almost hard to review this, because nothing really happens (yes it's one of those books, so if you don't like that type of literary fiction, this might not be for you), but the text explores such hard topics like trauma, PTSD, child abuse, sexual assault, sexual harassment, and disordered eating. It looks at how trauma lives in the body and affects the body (and mind). It unpacks how the coping mechanisms we had as children in order to survive sometimes don't serve us as adults––they can even greatly hinder us or lead to self-destructive behavior. 

The one thing I would have loved to have seen more of, and it's why this didn't quite reach five star territory for me, were more insights into Vivian's relationships with her friends and family. We've given a lot of information about these relationships, but not often shown these relationships in play. Plus, I loved her friend Jane, and would have liked to have seen them together just a bit more. However, this is a relatively short novel, so I understand why we got what we did. 

This is a prime example of a book that found me at just the right time. I can't wait to own a physical copy of this, because it needs to a permanent spot in my book collection.
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