Where You Left Me, a 5 Minutes for Books Review and Giveaway

by 5 Minutes for Books

It’s difficult to believe that the ten year anniversary of 9/11 is approaching. I’m sure that all of us remember the events of that day like they happened yesterday. I was working with a first grade student. When we came out of the room, I saw the guidance counselor and nurse glued to the television, watching the towers fall and the pentagon burn. I immediately gave thanks that my father had left an assignment at the pentagon months before. It was surreal, and I remember feeling like the world had turned upside down. I was twenty weeks pregnant and two days away from finding out the gender of my first baby. For weeks, my stomach was in knots, worried about bringing a precious little one into such uncertainty.

Of course, my experience pales in comparison to the nightmare of those who lost loved ones that day. While all of us grieved, we can only imagine the heartache of those who said good-bye to husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, and children on the morning of 9/11, and never saw them again. In Where You Left Me, Jennifer Gardner Trulson tells her story. Madly in love with her husband, and blessed with of two beautiful children, Jennifer’s life was perfect. On the morning of September 11, 2001, Jennifer’s husband Doug kissed them all good-bye, and then he was gone. As Jennifer dropped her son off for his first day of preschool, she was blissfully unaware when the planes hit the towers. After being told that something had happened at the World Trade Center, Jennifer watched the towers collapse on television, and she knew immediately that Doug was dead.

Doug Gardner worked for Cantor Fitzgerald on the 105th floor of the North Tower. He was one of 658 Cantor employees to die that day, so Jennifer lost her husband as well as many, many friends. In the pages of Where You Left Me, Jennifer relates the details from the days and months that followed the attacks in a touching and poignant manner. She vividly shares the range of emotions she experienced: despondency, grief, anger, love, and even moments of joy and laughter. Ultimately, Jennifer finds hope and a new life. I was initally jarred by the timing of her new relationship, but Jennifer manages to move forward while continuing to honor the memory of her beloved husband.

I couldn’t put this book down. With her direct and honest style, Jennifer writes as though she is sharing this story with a friend. I laughed, cried, and remembered. This is a memoir worth reading, and I highly recommend it. With the anniversary approaching, we can’t help but recollect our feelings and experiences, and I am thankful that Jennifer took the time to share her story of loss, her story of resiliency, and her story of hope. We should never forget.

This memoir is so touching and relevant that I am adding it to the 5 Star Reads list at 5 Minutes for Books. Click over to see other titles that have earned this position, as our best of the best recommendations.

We have one copy of this book to give to one of our readers (U.S. addresses only). Please leave a comment on this post if you are interested. We’ll announce the winner on September 12.

The winners of Amish Values for Your Family are #46 Mirissa and #24 Marjorie.

5 Minutes for Books reviewer Lauren is a wife, mother of two, and an avid reader. She blogs at Baseballs and Bows.

Please read our interview with the author Jennifer Gardner Trulson if you are interested in why she decided to share her personal story in this memoir: On Reading: A Memorist Tells All at 5 Minutes for Books.



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5 Minutes for Books is the 5 Minutes for Mom sister site devoted to reviewing books for adults -- fiction, memoir, and nonfiction -- and kids of all ages. Managed by Jennifer Donovan, other contributors are Dawn, Lauren, Nancy, and Elizabeth. Follow us @5M4B on twitter and subscribe to our feed or like us on Facebook so you don't miss a thing!

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