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Facing the Yorkshire Ripper (ePub)

The Art of Survival

P&S History > By Century > 20th Century P&S History > True Crime World History > UK & Ireland > England > Yorkshire & Humberside

By Mo Lea
Imprint: Pen & Sword True Crime
File Size: 29.5 MB (.epub)
Illustrations: 32 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781526777584
Published: 6th October 2020


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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 Iike 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.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This a truly honest account of every emotion, thought and feeling survivor of the Yorkshire Ripper, Mo Lea went through to get to where she is now.

An interesting read and highly recommend.

NetGalley, S Ballinger

This was an interesting read. It really went into all details of Mo Lea’s inspiring journey after surviving her attack by the Yorkshire Ripper. It is a truly honest account of every emotion, thought and feeling she had to go through to get to where she is now.
It was an honour to read her journey and to take in the woman that she has become. Her strength is beyond admirable and it is hard to fathom the journey she experienced.

NetGalley, Bailey Blower

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This follows Mo's story about her encounter with the Yorkshire Ripper, so this is about her side of the story, her trauma as well as how it affected her mental health! She had to have councilling, and has severe PTSD because of what happened. This also shows the development of her being embarrased to say anything to her wanting to fundraise for charities to support victims and to show how she has turned her life around after a horrific encounter happened... and basically how she survived after being attacked by the Yorkshire Ripper!!

This was a heartwrenching read and had me so gripped! It also made you feel like you was there with her when all this happens..


NetGalley, Shannon Wadlan

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!

NetGalley, Donna Maguire

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A well written book focusing on one of the world's most notorious serial killers. I enjoyed the information it provided and thought it was definitely one for true crime fans!

NetGalley, Meggan Turner

I enjoyed reading this book. The author tells her story with a quiet, unassuming voice, but yet you can feel the raw emotion she carries with her. Fans of memoirs told with honesty and real emotion will enjoy this book.

NetGalley, Brenda Carleton

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Mo Lea writes with a quiet authority that reveals her inner torment at being victim to a terrifying attack by Peter Sutcliffe. The fact that she was pretty ignored by the police only compounded the depth of her feelings and her attempts at forging a normal life are hugely interesting to read.

Mo has certainly led a full and colourful life and the joy and contentment that she sometimes felt would suddenly be drained of colour by her memories of the attack and the unresolved trauma.

The sad fact is that the attack was not something that could be easily dismissed or buried, it carried a psychic weight which would often intrude on Mo's life and crush her.

Navigating this is never easy to read about and is often upsetting but, ultimately, an essential read.

NetGalley, Brian Hamilton

This book was utterly heartbreaking.

Mo talks so openly about her trauma following her horrible attack my the notorious Yorkshire Ripper. We follow her story from the attack through the long agonising recovery and the reopening of her case.

Mo is an absolute hero for facing this head on writing about her experience, I hope sharing this has help even more with her coming to terms with the horrible attack she suffered.

An absolute must read for anyone with an interest in true crime.

NetGalley, Shelley Bruin

This is an interesting but sad story. The author survived the rippers attack, however she did not have closure, as the ripper was not charged with her attack for a long time. It is clear that the attack had a big impact on her life and it is perfectly right that she has the opportunity to tell her own story. It is nice here that the focus is on the victim rather than the perpetrator as often true crime does. Respect should be given for how she pieced her life together in spite of her experience and puts things in perspective. Recommended for lovers of true crime.

NetGalley, Claire Knight

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

You can really see the bravery as Mo tells her story and it is told in a way that is easy to follow. I would recommend this book if you like memoirs and hearing the story of survivors but not if you want to hear all the gory details of the crime.

Her words make you feel as though you are living through everything with her and the book focuses mainly on the aftermath of the attack. It shows that the aftermath of attacks like this are not just about the physical recovery and survival, but also the mental and emotional side as well.

I loved this book 5 from me and a love for a new genre.

NetGalley, Paige Whittington

I really enjoyed this book. It covered all the the thoughts and feelings she has had regarding her encounter with the Yorkshire Ripper. She described the details about her life leading up to it. She described the past crimes that had been committed. She detailed her recovery, her denial, her struggles with the police (which always infuriate me), and her life after the attack. It was very thorough.

NetGalley, Katie Martin

I do love memoirs but have not read many about survival. Mo is a strong character and her art has helped her through.
A gripping and at some points emotional read. How anyone survives this sort of thing takes a lot of mental strength.

NetGalley, Odette Lattimer-Gittins

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

How can someone's struggle with survival not earn 5 stars? This is true events. Horrific true events. I'm not normally a non-fiction fan but the description of this book caught my attention and it continued to hold my interest. No speed reading or skipping bits for me!

Mo is now a Hero of mine. The kind of physical injuries Mo suffered were horrific and she's lucky to have survived but it sounds as if she is still trying to survive on a daily basis with the mental injuries. Although the book ends with a symbolic event, this won't wipe the mental slate clean. Like Mo mentions herself, no matter how far away from the site of the attack, that event will always be with her.

I'm quite surprised with the police dealing with this case. Quite shocking really. Not being able to confirm the link with a possible Peter Sutcliffe attack. I wouldn't want to have my clothes back covered in blood stains from the attack and yet that is what the police did eventually.

I wish Mo a happy and healthy life with Sophy and many more beautiful art pictures to help her deal with her own survival here on in.

NetGalley, Julie Mellis

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

To survive an attack by the Yorkshire Ripper yet not have it acknowledged blighted this ladie's life. This is the story of her struggle.
An interesting read.

NetGalley, Sadie Powell

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This was a very interesting read which had me gripped. The lady was so brave and this is so well written and a credit to her.

NetGalley, Tracey Ford

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This book is about someone who was attacked by the Yorkshire ripper and how she turns her life around using her artistic skills and she turns it around to him being the victim. Truly inspirational..

NetGalley, Jo Guest

On the 20th of October 1980 (few days before her 21st Birthday) art student Mo Lea spends a night out with friends in Leed’s student area. The air of a city under siege is clear to the local student population. Even in this insidious atmosphere, Mo Lea takes the risk of taking a short dimly lit walk home. In his fifth (and final) year, the Yorkshire Ripper's modus operandi shifts in victimology from prostitutes to random young women and students in and around the city of Leeds, West Yorkshire, in the heart of urban England.

The artist and art itself is the leitmotif that runs throughout this true-crime biography and its a technique that tells the story well. Shortly after the attack itself, Mo’s creative process is dark imagery, exhibitions, and portfolios full of macabre drawings and paintings, the artistic emotional torture is conveyed in excruciating detail.

As the year’s progress, Mo Lea takes us on a journey through the United States, Leeds, Bedfordshire, and even a life-affirming meeting with a woman that changes the artist’s life, and sexuality, in one swift move. Like brush strokes on a blank canvas, Mo’s paints her prose well and delivers a harrowing yet engaging account. Although the book is a bit dry on the more titillating details of Sutcliffe’s crimes (maybe not one for all true crime fans) it is, however, an inspiring story of recovery, reinvention, and the ability to overcome.

Mo also delves deep into her emotionally fraught and tiresome dealings with the gross incompetence of West Yorkshire Police and their notorious mismanagement of the Yorkshire Ripper case. Although Mo does seem to recover, that part of the story is a wound that seems to remain open.

NetGalley, VivaLa Books

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Facing the Yorkshire Ripper: The Art of Survival is exactly that. Do not pick up this book if all you want is to hear the gory details and get your true crime fix. This heart wrenching book is about how Mo Lea learned to survive after being attacked by one of the most notorious serial killers Britain has ever seen, and it had me absolutely gripped.

Mo Lea is a fascinating person, and a captivating writer. Her words make you feel like you are with her through every moment. You feel the things that she feels; the whirlwind of confusion after the attack, the frustration at not being heard, the piecing back together bit by bit of life, and overcoming the physical and emotional scarring caused by the ordeal she has been through.

Surviving an attack is not just about physical survival in the days following, but it is also about making it through every day afterwards, not knowing whether you’ll see a newspaper headline, or overhear someone talking about your attacker on the bus. Sutcliffe was very high profile, and talk of him around the time, and in the many years following has never lulled. There was absolutely no escape from the past and what had happened to her, constantly being branded as a victim, and no longer an actual person. Not only that, but also the constant worry that Sutcliffe still hadn’t confessed to the attack- if not him, was the perpetrator still out there?

You are taken on a journey through Mo’s survival, her struggles over blaming being cruelly selected simply because she is female, and her worries of how she will be perceived with Sutcliffe’s reputation of the type of women he targeted.

I love how the book focuses on art giving Mo an outlet to explore how she was feeling, and you can clearly see throughout the book, and by her work featured at the end, that it enabled her to express her anger, and her pain, and in turn help her to be successful at moving on with her life.

I am so glad that Mo decided to share her story of survival with us, and that I was lucky enough to be selected to read it. I would highly recommend this book.

NetGalley, Sal Fields

This is not your normal run of the mill crime story. Knowing the story of the Yorkshire Ripper, Mo Lea fell victim to the killer herself, managing to survive the brutal attack that followed.

I really enjoyed reading this one. It was a different accounting than what you are used to reading, but it was gripping, and you could not turn the pages fast enough to see what happened next!

Great for weekend reads.

NetGalley, Rebecca Hill

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This book is a story about growth and how to survive after a horrific ordeal. I as a true crime buff absolutely lived this story. Many stories like this focused on the killer so was a nice change of pace to have focus on a brave person.

NetGalley, Michelle Griffiths

The bravery of the survivor to share their story resonates throughout this book. As a true crime fan, I had heard of the Yorkshire Ripper before but never this in-depth. It was told in a way that was easy to follow and I never felt bored which can happen a lot in true crime with too many facts at once.

NetGalley, Caroline Craig David

Yorkshire Ripper victim vows 'he won't destroy me' 40 years after he tried to kill her.

The Express 25/10/20

About Mo Lea

Mo Lea is from a working class background in Liverpool. Despite having been attacked by the Yorkshire Ripper she has had a successful career teaching in a range of institutions over the years ranging from Probation services, Junior, Secondary and Further and Higher Education at Masters level in the UK, USA, Malaysia, and in the South Pacific.
Mo is a practicing artist and throughout her teaching, she has exhibited new bodies of work every few years in the cities where she's lived including London, Los Angeles and New York.
In her younger years she used drawing to express conditions of memory and trauma, finding the creative process both healing and calming.

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