By Sue Julians
BREAKABLE reflects London physiotherapist Sue Julians’s two-year journey through the COVID pandemic. From March 2020 to March 2022, Julians went from being a successful, holistic physiotherapist to a burnt-out shell of herself, battling long COVID and depression. Her book reveals much about the impact and damage of struggling to connect in a world defined by tech and social media, as lockdowns and limits seemed to hurt Julians’s patients, family, and friends more than COVID itself. The book tells how small businesses and professionals like Julians struggled—forced to try desperate, improvised strategies to help their patients and clients—as their level of debt skyrocketed.
Julians devotes much of the work to the social and psychological impact of isolation and masking, especially on children, who she says missed critical developmental phases. She describes her own daughter’s graduation from middle school to high school as a sad experience that lacked the “crackle of camaraderie. . . and community” to mark the occasion. The author’s concerned voice rings with the authenticity of an experienced professional well-versed in biology, chemistry, holistic health care, infection control, and “the social determinants of health.”
Julians’s writing style is clear and concise. She describes people and places in a lyrical, imaginative tone. London’s rich cultural history serves as an excellent backdrop, showing the contradictions the pandemic posed for lonely urbanites. As the author writes, “[t]he most shocking aspect . . . was the sheer speed at which previously healthy, thriving individuals had become unwell” within this two-year timeframe. Her ample detail and rich anecdotes show the impact of isolation and loneliness on the physical and psychological health of “patients who hadn’t been within two meters of another soul for six months” and who turned into “tightly coiled springs, rigid with stress.”
The book has an engaging, colorful cover. It is professionally presented, with few typos and grammatical errors. Throughout it uses colorful “post-lockdown” photographs of notable London streets and landmarks as chapter partitions. These London images of empty thoroughfares, barren historical sites, and shuttered subway stations illustrate the desolation and tension the book describes. At the end, the author includes a 10-page appendix outlining in detail the confusing and convoluted timeline of London’s lockdown restrictions. This author’s account of a rough time may act as a cautionary tale about best practices for public health emergencies in the future.
Sue Julians will break readers’ hearts with her impressive COVID memoir, BREAKABLE—a well-researched narrative about England’s pandemic policies that may shock and disturb.
~Robin L. Harvey for IndieReader
New Generation Publishing
By Sue Julians
In BREAKABLE, author Sue Julians explores the shocking impact and cost of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions in this moving and thought-provoking memoir which also serves as an ode to London in addition to a beautifully absorbing and candid account of Julians’ life and background. She uses her professional opinion as a physiotherapist and her perspective as a mother, business owner, and City dweller to provide a gently analytic, intelligent, and measured assessment of this unprecedented period. Her flawlessly presented, insightful, and indeed gripping narrative should be required reading for those who implemented the lockdowns and highly recommended for those who experienced them.