On the Receiving End

A Memoir of a Nurse Who Met, Tackled, and Overcame Insurmountable Obstacles

Non-Fiction - Memoir
200 Pages
Reviewed on 02/20/2024
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Author Biography

Sheila was born and raised in New York City, has resided in Mount Vernon, New York for 41 years, and is the proud mother of an adult son and daughter. She was a voice major at an illustrious high school, however, her goal in life was to give of herself by caring for those in need. After attaining her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing, Sheila then began her career as a registered nurse in 1979. Her inspiration to write a memoir emerged as she encountered, confronted, and ultimately triumphed over insurmountable obstacles, and overwhelming adversity.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Kathryn Bennett for Readers' Favorite

On the Receiving End: A Memoir of a Nurse Who Met, Tackled, and Overcame Insurmountable Obstacles by Shelia J. Brooks is a book that came to me at just the right time. I unexpectedly had to say goodbye to my beloved senior dog and was looking for something that could distract my brain. I found that distraction and more within the pages of this thoughtfully written book. This story is one of strength and how we as humans can look at all the obstacles before us and decide when it would be easier to give up or choose to keep on going.

On the Receiving End by Shelia J. Brooks is written with a skilled hand and a deft turn of phrase that proves the author is not only strong, resilient, and a nurse, but an evocative storyteller. There is some medical jargon, but it is explained well so that even someone with no medical experience at all, like myself, can understand it. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to know about the strength of the human spirit. You can find it in every word and on every page of this book. It weaves professional and personal details together in such a perfect way you would swear they were stitched together by a seamstress. If you truly want to find yourself unable to put a book down, this is one for you. I don’t say that lightly as I usually prefer fiction when I want to escape. This book is better than fiction and was just the right one to help me as I processed my loss.

Asher Syed

In her memoir On the Receiving End, Sheila Brooks shares a life marked by multiple obstacles, including unexpected pregnancies, a mind-boggling array of health issues, and familial hardship, like her father's decline due to prostate cancer. Despite setbacks, Brooks was steadfast in pursuing a nursing career, specializing in labor and delivery, even as her health tried its level best to stop her. Brooks offers detailed accounts of surgeries, pain management, numerous medical procedures, and complications, including a pulmonary embolism, a Greenfield Filter insertion, and eye and intestinal issues, all of which lay out her enduring physical and emotional distress. Still, Brooks maintains hope, culminating in a message of inspiration, urging readers to cling to their optimism, count blessings, and trust in divine purpose even in seemingly insurmountable adversity.

Sheila Brooks gives us an authentic and honest account of her journey in On the Receiving End, as she openly shares her vulnerabilities, fears, and moments of despair. It's an incredibly touching and raw portrayal that allows readers to connect with her experiences on a deeply personal level. Brooks is a fighter, but she always makes it clear that she is not fighting alone, demonstrating a trust that God is working in all things and the impact of prayers and support from her faith community and fellow believers. Brooks writes in a style that shows her own voice, and while it veers thoroughly into the clinical realm, she does retain the conversational tone that is required to keep a memoir of this kind from reading like a textbook. Overall, this is a heartfelt and informative work. Recommended.

K.C. Finn

On the Receiving End: A Memoir of a Nurse Who Met, Tackled, and Overcame Insurmountable Obstacles is a work of non-fiction in the medical, autobiographical, and slice-of-life subgenres. Penned by author Sheila J. Brooks, RN BSN, it is best suited to the general adult reading audience. From her challenging childhood, as an only child grappling with adversity, to her tumultuous teenage years marked by diverse struggles, Brooks's resilience shines through as she navigates the ups and downs of her personal and professional life. As she embarks on her career as a nurse, Brooks transitions from being on the receiving end of healthcare to becoming a compassionate caregiver, facing new challenges and triumphing over them with unwavering determination.

Author Sheila J. Brooks has crafted an autobiographical work that will resonate deeply with anyone working in the healthcare profession and one that transforms a complex and challenging calling into an accessible, emotive, and inspiring read. Reading this memoir was a deeply moving experience, as Brooks's candid storytelling and unwavering optimism serve as an inspiring reminder of the power of resilience and the importance of maintaining hope in the face of adversity. The text itself is laced with both clarity and warmth, showcasing the duality of characteristics that nurses have to convey, seeking the balance between their practical and empathetic selves. Overall, On the Receiving End is a testament to the human spirit's capacity to overcome obstacles and emerge stronger on the other side, and it’s a memoir I would highly recommend to fans of truly inspirational and informative writing everywhere.

Frank Mutuma

On the Receiving End: A Memoir of a Nurse Who Met, Tackled, and Overcame Insurmountable Obstacles by Sheila J. Brooks details her life from birth. Her mother was an evangelist, and her father was an ordained deacon, which confused Sheila since their marriage was dysfunctional primarily because of her father. This turbulent upbringing impacted her and contributed to her own divorce later in life. Sheila had always wanted to work in healthcare. She joined college and eventually became a registered nurse, and after the compulsory medical-surgical rotation, she moved on to labor and delivery. She faced numerous challenges, including several abdominal surgeries, accidents that put her out of work for several months, and gastrointestinal problems. To find out how Sheila navigates through these challenges, read this book.

Being from a medical background myself, Sheila's story captured my attention from the first chapter to the last, as I understood the challenges she faced in the medical field. On the Receiving End by Sheila J. Brooks is an excellent example of courage, resilience, and hope. I loved how candid Sheila was with her emotions and the vivid description of the events in her life. The orderly flow of the chapters and events ensured there was no room for confusion for the reader. The book is also thought-provoking and got me thinking about life issues such as marriage, career, and healthcare delivery and outcomes. I recommend this wonderful work to those in healthcare and all who are facing various challenges to find inspiration and encouragement from Sheila's life.

Divine Zape

On the Receiving End: A Memoir of a Nurse Who Met, Tackled, and Overcame Insurmountable Obstacles by Sheila J. Brooks RN BSN is one of those memoirs where I ask at the end: “How can one experience all these things and still be alive?” This memoir is a pulsating reflection on a life filled with trials and triumphs. Born on an ominous Friday the 13th in 1958, the author's journey begins against the backdrop of a tumultuous family life. Despite facing academic struggles, health issues, and familial discord, her determination to pursue a nursing career continues to drive her. She recounts the many trials and challenges she faced as she matured. Her dysfunctional family already provides a difficult background for growth and emotional health. She is plagued by a mysterious illness and undergoes surgeries.

Throughout high school and into married life, she faces many challenges, including hospitalizations for tonsillitis, a turbulent honeymoon as she transitions into marriage, and pregnancy complications, such as a ruptured ectopic pregnancy. Car accidents, resulting in concussions and injuries, add to her trials, along with diagnoses of torn meniscus, stomach ulcers, and seizures. Despite facing these adversities, she perseveres, demonstrating resilience in the face of life's unexpected turns and health struggles. On the Receiving End tells the story of a woman who never gives up and who refuses to be shaped by the painful experiences she has had. It is a tale of hope, perseverance, and faith in humanity’s strength to overcome challenges. Readers encounter a beautiful soul in these pages, one that has been scarred by suffering yet continues to stand tall and strong. Sheila J. Brooks writes in a simple language and her honesty will pull readers in. This book will inspire readers facing obstacles in life and will teach them to believe in themselves. Brooks never gave up on her dream of pursuing a nursing career and it seems to be one of the things that gave her the strength to move forward.