Smorgasbord Book Promotions – New Book on the Shelves – #Motivational – Prisoners without Bars: A Caregivers Tale by Donna O’Donnell Figurski

Delighted to welcome a new author to the shelves here on Smorgasbord…Donna O’Donnell Figurski with her poignant memoir – Prisoners without Bars: A Caregivers Tale

About the book

“Laugh! Cry! G-A-S-P!”

This heart-wrenching and triumphant love story is a tale of advocacy and caregiving. Donna’s husband, David, stumbled into their bedroom, his hand covering a blood-filled eye from a brain hemorrhage.

Donna called 9-1-1. David slipped into a coma. At that moment, Donna was thrust onto the path of caregiver for her best friend and the love of her life.

In her debut memoir, Donna shares how a neurosurgeon said that David would make a “great organ donor.” She writes of arrogant doctors, uncaring visitors, insensitive ambulance drivers, and problematic nurses. She also tells of the many compassionate doctors, nurses, therapists, staff, strangers, family members, and friends who helped them on their journey.

Donna compellingly describes her ability to appear positive as she experiences the horror of making life-or-death decisions. As her world crashes, she credits laughter as her lifesaver. More than thirteen years later, Donna and David are living a “new normal” together.

One of the many reviews for the book

Martha Graham-Waldon 5.0 out of 5 stars Love Conquers All Reviewed in the United States on December 23, 2022

Prisoner without Bars so closely mirrored my own life experiences, it was uncanny. Because I also faced a life threatening health crisis with my husband, I could definitely relate to Donna’s story. Even though ours was not a TBI, my husband was also in a coma and required rehabilitation once he survived his illness. The bizarre experience of basically living in a hospital with a family member for so long is something you never forget and caregiving for someone so helpless reveals the true meaning of love.

Donna’s fierce devotion to her husband David touched my heart. She also translated medical jargon and explanations into understandable terms. I enjoyed following their journey with a deep appreciation for how they were able to live in the here and now and how they have been able to make the most of their lives together, despite the limitations and obstacles placed in their way.

The short, engaging chapters made the book easy to read and hard to put down. I truly loved this book and I recommend it to anyone who is inspired by a love story that overcomes all the odds and celebrates the joy of life. 

Head over to read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US And: Amazon UK

About Donna O’Donnell Figurski

I am a wife, mother, and granny, a teacher, playwright, actor, director, picture-book reviewer, jewelry designer, photographer, and writer.

​You might have guessed, I spend a lot of time juggling my time to fit everything in. Of course, I don’t do them all at once.

​If you asked me which activity I like best, I couldn’t answer. I love them all. But, if you pushed me to choose, I’d admit that writing rules.

​Each day I write for hours. I write articles for online or print magazines or manuscripts that will one day turn into books. I write pieces, stories, and reviews for my blog. I write interview

questions for my guests and my panelists that appear on my radio show, “Another Fork in the Road,” on the Brain Injury Radio Network.

If I don’t get my daily fix of writing, I’m lost. I feel undone. So, what do I do? I write!

I’ve published four children’s stories with Scholastic. I was a winner in the 2013 Essex County (NJ) Legacies Writing Contest, and I was recognized by the National Education Association for my Teacher’s Pets review column for children’s books. I was honored to be nominated and be a finalist in the Caregiver Visionary Award. I was presented with the HOPE Hero 2019 Award for my work as a advocate for brain injury, and I jumped for joy when my blog, won a Top 30 Brain Injury Blog Award.

I am published in two anthologies on brain injury, The Resilient Soul and Surviving Brain Injury: Stories of Strength and Inspiration, and with my New Jersey writing group in the volumes, Montclair Write Group Sampler 2014, 2016, and 2018. I am frequently a contributor to online/print journals and magazines (TBI Hope Magazine, Lash and Associates Publishing Blog,, and Disabled Magazine).

BUT, my greatest accomplishment is being caregiver to my husband, David, who had a traumatic brain injury in 2005. David and I currently live in the desert – where it never snows!

Connect with Donna: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK – Read more reviews and follow Donna: Goodreads – Bookbub: Donna O’Donnell Figurski – Website: Donna Figurski – Brain Injury Blog: Surviving Traumatic Brain Injury – Twitter: @DonnaFigurski


Thank you for dropping in today and it would be great if you could comment and share and I am sure Donna will be happy to answer any of your questions…. Sally.

70 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Book Promotions – New Book on the Shelves – #Motivational – Prisoners without Bars: A Caregivers Tale by Donna O’Donnell Figurski

  1. Wow!
    A wife, mother, and granny, a teacher, playwright, actor, director, picture-book reviewer, jewelry designer, photographer, and writer.
    What a list!
    And a story to tell.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Thanks for introducing us to Donna and her book Sal. Wow, that blurb surely hit home for me, definitely a book I know I could relate to, but definitely not ready to read this at this time in my life right now so I’ve added to my TBR. Congrats to Donna for the book and her strength. ❤ xx

    Liked by 3 people

    • dgkaye,

      From your comment, I sense that you know too well the gist of my book. (caregiving?, brain injury?, other critical health issue?) I’m sorry for what you are going through. As a writer yourself, you know the cathartic healing that can happen with your writing.

      I wrote my book not for my healing, but to help others. I would love to hear what you think when you read it someday. Please reach out to me if I can help in any way.

      ♥ All best,
      donna o’donnell figurski

      Liked by 2 people

      • Hi Donna, thanks so much for your kind words. Yes, I lost the love of my life. I kept him home palliative. I am far from over the trauma, so I’m sure you understand. Writing has truly been my savior. I am slowly working on a big book about love and grief. Needless to say, this kind of writing requires many intermissions. I know well how cathartic with the heart-wrenching goes to write these kind of books. And like my readers always take something from my books, even though they are my memoirs. I do look forward to reading your book.<3

        Liked by 3 people

  3. Caregiving is one of the most underappreciated and hardest things to do. I watched the caregivers at my mom’s assisted living center closely. Some were so skilled and patient, while others should have been doing something else.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Pete Springer, so glad to see your comment here. They say that caregiving is not for the faint of heart. For some it is a 24/7 rest-of-your-life job. At least for me it will be, and I am so glad that I have the opportunity to be that person for my husband and best friend.

      David was given a 600% percent (yes, the zeroes are right) of surviving his first of three brain surgeries in two weeks. So far, we’ve had an extra 18 years together. We’re planning on a whole lot more.

      ♥ All best,
      donna o’donnell figurski

      Liked by 2 people

      • Oops! BOY did I make a BIG mistake here. David was NOT given a 600% chance of living. (That would have been wonderful. His neurosurgeon gave him a 1 in 600 chance of surviving––in other words, only 1 person in 600 is expected to survive. Fortunately, David beat those awful odds.

        ♥ All best,
        donna o’donnell figurski

        Liked by 1 person

      • I assumed that you meant to say 1 in 600. David and you have blown those odds out of the water. I read you bio and understand you’ve go a million and one things going on. We’ll touch base one of these days. We’re getting on an airplane tomorrow and flying to South Dakota. Our son is getting married on Saturday, so that’s obviously first and foremost on my mind. Now if I can just get through my father-of-the-groom speech without becoming an emotional basket case.😅

        Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Pete Springer,

      In my previous comment, I said I was glad to see you here. It was through Sally’s site that I found your book, “They Call Me Mom: Making a Difference as an Elementary School Teacher.” I definitely want to read it.

      I have a book out on submission right now about my passion, philosophy, and teaching of 1st and 3rd graders. From what I can tell about what I have read about your book so far, our beliefs about teaching are so similar I’d definitely like to talk with you about that. My book is called, “If I Ran the School: A Play Yard for Learning.” If you are will to chat, you can contact me at

      ♥ All best,
      donna o’donnell figurski

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The description of this book really struck a chord. My mother traveled the caregiving road with my dad for seven years after he suffered brain damage from a cardiac arrest. She gave him a quality of life unheard of for someone in such precarious shape. What stuck me most was that she had to advocate for him with the medical providers at every turn. I can’t imagine what happens to someone without a warrior advocate.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – May 15th – 21st 2023 – Twitter, Starlings, The Jive, Diana Krall, Soul Mates, Zabaglione, Personal Power,Book Reviews, Health and Humour | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

  6. Thanks for introducing me to Donna and her book, Sally. You know my misgivings about those lacking empathy being in a position to deliver essential care to vulnerable people. Donna has clearly made sure that her husband has the best of experiences possible through her own care and support of him. xx

    Liked by 1 person

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