#BookReview for Facing the Yorkshire Ripper: The Art of Survival by Mo Lea @penswordbooks #MoLea #TheArtofSurvival #YorkshireRipper #FacingtheYorkshireRipper

As a survivor of a brutal attack by the Yorkshire Ripper, this book gives fresh insight into the consequences of being labeled a victim of this notorious serial killer.

Mo Lea was followed home and attacked by Peter Sutcliffe, who hit her over the head repeatedly with a hammer. She was stabbed with a screwdriver leaving her with life threatening injuries. The book reveals how Mo has wrestled with the past, struggling to come to terms with the well-trodden, morbid narrative. She has written a new, fresh perspective for the present day.

Her writing offers an alternative account, one which repositions her as a survivor with a success story. While sympathy has its place for the victims, this book gives insight into processes of recovery and success. Mo had no control over unwanted media interventions. Sometimes the Ripper story would appear on the morning news while she was getting ready to go to work. She learnt to contain her anxiety but she could neither predict or escape these uncomfortable moments that reminded her of her past trauma.

Mo Lea’s art practice has been an important factor in her life. She has been fortunate to use this as an outlet to explore her pain, anger, suffering and recovery.

After years of personal growth and recovery, a short film was made of Mo Lea creating a drawing from the iconic photograph of the man who had tried to take her life. She is filmed ripping up the Ripper. She is filmed tearing up the portrait that she had so carefully drawn, rendering him as disposable as a piece of litter. The film shows how Mo turned her story around, making Sutcliffe the victim and herself, the triumphant survivor.

Mo had finally found a way of stepping out of the frame. She no longer felt like running away. The illustrations contained within describe better than any words, her journey from tragic despair to calmness and acceptance. By writing this book Mo Lea has found a way to reclaim her story. 


I was really intrigued by this book and I had my copy to read just before the news of his death came up in the news so I left the book for a while to allow that to calm down for me to really be able to get in to Mo’s story without the news being an influence.

The book is well written and Mo had really opened up about her story and the trauma’s she went through at the hands of her attacker and has been honest about the state of her mental health after this and how much it affected her, I am not surprised at all that she advises that she suffered from PTSD and underwent counselling.

The book shows how she went from someone who was embarrassed from talking about her attack through to almost embracing it and wanting to raise funds for charities that support the victims and that shows how she has managed to turn her life around – that said I do get the feeling she will always be haunted by him, especially as she never had the closure and confirmation that it was him as he took that to the grave.

It is 4 stars from me for this one, a good book on the subject that allowed the focus to be on a survivor and not a victim or the killer himself – highly recommended!