*** About the Book ***
On Sept. 10, 2001 Eddie Torres went to work for the first time at the World Trade Center in New York City. That evening he and his wife, Alissa, who was 7 months pregnant, had a fight, and they went to bed angry with each other. The next morning he headed off to his second day of work. Just a few hours after leaving the house he was killed when terrorist attacks caused the the Twin Towers to collapse. Alissa's life was changed forever. The next few months were a blur, filled with condolences, offers of help, deep depression, the birth of her son, and days upon days spent in bed. Then came the mass of paperwork and unfulfilled promises of aid from the government, and feelings of anger and jealousy from friends, neighbors, and strangers.
This is the story of Alissa's life in the months after Eddie's death. It's the story of how one woman dealt with her very personal loss under the close scrutiny of the public eye.
*** Why I Read It ***
I don't know where I first heard about this but I've had the title written on a post-it note on my desk at work for over a year. When my book club voted to do a graphic memoir month (graphic memoir rather than graphic novel) in September I knew this was the book I wanted to read.
*** My Thoughts ***
Talk about perfect timing ... I picked up this book on Sept. 9 and started reading it the next day. I read most of it on Sept. 11 - exactly nine years after the tragedy that was 9/11/01 and the death of Alissa's husband, Eddie.
This is a very moving and personal book. As I read it and looked at the illustrations I kept visualizing myself in Alissa's situation, or in that of her friends. I imagined me being the one not knowing what to say, or saying the wrong thing. It was also a very informative book. I know I heard about many of the financial and political issues surrounding the families of the 9/11 victims but reading Alissa's story made it all very personal and very clear. In addition, it is a quick read despite the large number of pages. I was able to easily read it over three days without devoting that much time to it. (I lent it to a friend and she read it in two days.)
That said, I'm still not a huge fan of graphic novels or graphic memoirs. Although I like the illustrations and feel that they certainly add to the story, I'm much more text-focused and I know I don't appreciate symbiosis of the text and the visuals the way I should.
For those of you who ARE graphic novel/memoir fans, I highly recommend this book. It is well worth tracking down a copy; Alissa's story is heartbreaking yet uplifting. For those who aren't fans of graphic novels/memoirs, I'd still say the book is worth reading - just don't expect it to change your opinions about the genre.
*** Your Thoughts ***
What do you think of the recent trend toward memoirs in graphic format? Which ones have you read? Are you familiar with this book?