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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
The Trauma Cleaner

The Trauma Cleaner

One Woman's Extraordinary Life in the Business of Death, Decay, and Disaster

Sarah Krasnostein

St. Martin's Press

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A fascinating, incredible true story about the person who spends her life cleaning up after traumas.

"Absolutely stunning."—PopSugar

Before she was a trauma cleaner, Sandra Pankhurst was many things: husband and father, drag queen, gender reassignment patient, sex worker, small businesswoman, trophy wife. . . But as a little boy, raised in violence and excluded from the family home, she just wanted to belong. Now she believes her clients deserve no less.

A woman who sleeps among garbage she has not put out for forty years. A man who bled quietly to death in his living room. A woman who lives with rats, random debris and terrified delusion. The still life of a home vacated by accidental overdose.

Sarah Krasnostein has watched the extraordinary Sandra Pankhurst bring order and care to these, the living and the dead—and the book she has written is equally extraordinary. Not just the compelling story of a fascinating life among lives of desperation, but an affirmation that, as isolated as we may feel, we are all in this together.

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This is what it says on the back of Sandra Pankhurst’s business card:

Excellence Is No Accident

Hoarding and Pet Hoarding Cleanup * Squalor/Trashed

Properties * Preparing the Home for

Home-Help Agencies...

Praise for The Trauma Cleaner

"Absolutely stunning"Popsugar

"Through countless encounters with the fetid, the neglected, and the downright tragic, Parkhurst has found meaning and peace, and [author] Krasnostein a singular subject whom she approaches with well-deserved awe."Booklist (starred)

"A transgender former prostitute cleans up the fetid houses of the psychotic, the hopeless and the murdered. Sounds like some dubious TLC special, but it’s a fascinating bio of Sandra Pankhurst… Revelatory.”People

"Compelling and fascinating."—Oxygen

"Pankhurst is an engaging, sympathetic, and fascinating person, and Krasnostein does an excellent job of balancing Pankhurst's personal story with those of her clients."—LitHub Crimereads

"Intriguing...A complex protagonist makes for engaging material."—Publishers Weekly

"Within the pages of The Trauma Cleaner Krasnostein has given us an extraordinary gift of humanity, life, and determination while carefully guiding us through the unspeakable conditions in which people find themselves in the face of trauma. Through sublime writing, Sarah Krasnostein expertly renders an unforgettable portrait of Sandra, one of the most compelling people I have ever read. I found myself constantly walking the line between frustration and utter love for this woman and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about her and the life she has lived. Krasnostein is a master storyteller of creative non-fiction and I am in awe.“—Sarah Sc… More…

"Absolutely stunning"Popsugar

"Through countless encounters with the fetid, the neglected, and the downright tragic, Parkhurst has found meaning and peace, and [author] Krasnostein a singular subject whom she approaches with well-deserved awe."Booklist (starred)

"A transgender former prostitute cleans up the fetid houses of the psychotic, the hopeless and the murdered. Sounds like some dubious TLC special, but it’s a fascinating bio of Sandra Pankhurst… Revelatory.”People

"Compelling and fascinating."—Oxygen

"Pankhurst is an engaging, sympathetic, and fascinating person, and Krasnostein does an excellent job of balancing Pankhurst's personal story with those of her clients."—LitHub Crimereads

"Intriguing...A complex protagonist makes for engaging material."—Publishers Weekly

"Within the pages of The Trauma Cleaner Krasnostein has given us an extraordinary gift of humanity, life, and determination while carefully guiding us through the unspeakable conditions in which people find themselves in the face of trauma. Through sublime writing, Sarah Krasnostein expertly renders an unforgettable portrait of Sandra, one of the most compelling people I have ever read. I found myself constantly walking the line between frustration and utter love for this woman and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about her and the life she has lived. Krasnostein is a master storyteller of creative non-fiction and I am in awe.“—Sarah Schmidt, author of See What I Have Done

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Reviews from Goodreads

Sarah Krasnostein

Sarah Krasnostein is a writer and a lawyer with a PhD in criminal law. A fourth generation American and a third generation Australian, she has lived and worked in both countries. The Trauma Cleaner is her first book.

St. Martin's Press

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