• What My Bones Know

  • A Memoir of Healing from Complex Trauma
  • By: Stephanie Foo
  • Narrated by: Stephanie Foo
  • Length: 10 hrs and 2 mins
  • 4.9 out of 5 stars (3,207 ratings)

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What My Bones Know

By: Stephanie Foo
Narrated by: Stephanie Foo
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Publisher's summary

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER •

A searing memoir of reckoning and healing by acclaimed journalist Stephanie Foo, investigating the little-understood science behind complex PTSD and how it has shaped her life

“Achingly exquisite . . . providing real hope for those who long to heal.”—Lori Gottlieb,
New York Times bestselling author of Maybe You Should Talk to Someone

ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The Washington Post, Cosmopolitan, NPR, Mashable, She Reads, Publishers Weekly

By age thirty, Stephanie Foo was successful on paper: She had her dream job as an award-winning radio producer at This American Life and a loving boyfriend. But behind her office door, she was having panic attacks and sobbing at her desk every morning. After years of questioning what was wrong with herself, she was diagnosed with complex PTSD—a condition that occurs when trauma happens continuously, over the course of years.

Both of Foo’s parents abandoned her when she was a teenager, after years of physical and verbal abuse and neglect. She thought she’d moved on, but her new diagnosis illuminated the way her past continued to threaten her health, relationships, and career. She found limited resources to help her, so Foo set out to heal herself, and to map her experiences onto the scarce literature about C-PTSD.

In this deeply personal and thoroughly researched account, Foo interviews scientists and psychologists and tries a variety of innovative therapies. She returns to her hometown of San Jose, California, to investigate the effects of immigrant trauma on the community, and she uncovers family secrets in the country of her birth, Malaysia, to learn how trauma can be inherited through generations. Ultimately, she discovers that you don’t move on from trauma—but you can learn to move with it.

Powerful, enlightening, and hopeful, What My Bones Know is a brave narrative that reckons with the hold of the past over the present, the mind over the body—and examines one woman’s ability to reclaim agency from her trauma.

©2022 Stephanie Foo (P)2022 Random House Audio

Critic reviews

“Absorbing . . . a reckoning, and Foo approaches it with candor and rigor . . . profoundly affecting.”The New York Times

“Foo’s happy ending is nothing short of deliverance—rich and joyful and full of care the child was denied. . . . Possibility still glows around the edges of her sight.”USA Today

“An unflinching reminder of the hidden struggles many face, told with the keen eye of a researcher and the brutality of a documentarian.”—NPR

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There are few stories more compelling or more intimately told than those soul-baring memoirs that seek not just to recount the experiences of one's own life, but to draw some greater commentary on the big existential questions. What does it mean to be human? What is our purpose in being here? How much of who we are is purely self-determined? Exceptional in both their prose and narration, these listens represent a few of the year's best memoirs.

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