The Shame of Losing

Days before Sarah Cannon’s thirty-third birthday, she receives a frightening phone call from her husband’s arborist colleague: Matt, her spouse of seven years and father to their two small children, has been severely injured by a falling tree branch. In a few moments, her visions of their future go dark, and she must learn how to care for the man she depended on for support. Faced with choices around how to behave in this rollercoaster journey, she takes as many steps back as she does forward, failing at times to see what needs to be done. In The Shame of Losing, Sarah offers a collection of playful diary entries, mock-love letters and considered vignettes to create meaning from a chaotic onslaught of changes. In making the painful decision to end her marriage, Sarah begins a rite of passage she never imagined making a recovery of her own. She faces the challenge of accepting a re-made family, and begins to see the world with fresh eyes.


In The Shame of Losing, Sarah Cannon captures the roller coaster from heartbreak to hope; from despondence to renewal, that she and her family have been riding since that instant when everything changed. This is a book about the brutal realities of a traumatic brain injury; but it is also about a young mother trying to save her own life. Honest, poetic; stark and stunning: a debut memoir that you will never forget. —Ann Hedreen, author of Her Beautiful Brain

This is an unforgettable story of a “full-time witness” to trauma and its aftershocks. With refreshing candor and a brilliant sense of humor, Sarah takes us through the maze of caring for a loved one who has suffered a traumatic brain injury and reckons deeply with what her own recovery should look like. This book will stay with me for a long time.—Leigh Stein, author of Land of Enchantment

Sarah Cannon’s memoir navigates trauma’s juggernaut in a way so compelling the reader witnesses the opening catastrophe first hand through the lens of her experience. This sense of attunement to her journey continues throughout the aftermath of the initial crisis. Over time Sarah comes to know herself within the context of her profoundly altered life. With fierce unflinching grist she faces the unrelenting learning her struggle demands and emerges with discerning hard won clarity. Her courage is palpable and inspires.—Joan Fiset, author of Namesake

A red background with scratch markings that make up and abstract drawing of a person holding their hands up and yellow script that reads The Shame of Losing a memoir by Sarah Cannon.

Sarah Cannon ( Author Website )

Publication Date: November 13, 2018

Genre/Imprint: Memoir, Red Hen Press

$16.95 Tradepaper

Shop: Red Hen, Bookshop, Barnes & Noble

ISBN: 978-1-59709-624-9