A Must Read: “The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors”

I am a book worm. At any given time you’ll find a book in my pocketbook and two more waiting to be read on my night stand. I devour novels while on the Elliptical at the gym and in my free time. Despite my boyfriend’s laughs and remarks, I do find reading fun.

While wandering in my local library a week or two ago, I stumbled across The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors by Michelle Young-Stone. Clearly, this was a must read for me for obvious reasons. For my blog readers (and even those uninterested in lightning), this book is a must read.

Young-Stone effortlessly tells the tale I wish I penned myself. The novel focuses on “damaged people.” She tells the tale of people who have been struck by lightning as well as those who have lost loved ones from death, divorce and drinking. Throughout the novel not only does Young-Stone portray the incredulousness of the unlucky but she also adds facts regarding lightning to enlighten the reader. I, for one, could not put it down.

“They were each, in some way, touched by lightning – connected and transformed by the heavens,” writes Young-Stone in the novel. Thank you, Young-Stone, for a touching book.

Facts from The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors:

  • 10% of lightning strike victims die;
  • Skin tingles and hair stands on end when lightning is about to strike;
  • Isolated pointy-shaped objects are most likely to be struck;
  • Common side effects victims suffer are: anxiety disorders, memory loss, stiff joints, numbness and insomnia;
  • Lightning strikes the ocean. The number of animals/fish that die depends on the voltage of the strike and the number of animals/fish near the surface;
  • The Empire State Building gets struck on average 25 times a year;
  • There are about 20 million strikes in the U.S. per year;
  • Survivors of lightning strikes were asked to draw images to describe what the electric shock felt like in a study. All images included: jaggedness, sharpness, pointed edges;
  • Only 50% of those struck by lightning seek medical attention;
  • About 80% of people struck by lightning are men. This is believed to be because more male professions take place outside;
  • Most fatalities are due to cardiac arrest (do CPR!);
  • A victim’s watch may not keep time due to altered electromagnetic fields;
  • Lightning kills more people each year than hurricanes and tornadoes.
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