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

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.


  1. Robin george says

    As I wrote on Jennifer’s Facebook wall, as a middle school teacher in the mountains of Maine, one could not seem farther away fromnyc. But on that day, I wanted to be home with my kids and husband around me. That night, as we sat glued to the tv – horrified but unable to turn away – I saw an interview with Jennifer. Her pain pierced me. She called her husband, Doug, “a delicious man.” my heart ached for her, and I did not forget her. Over the past ten years, I’ve thought of her and hoped she again found peace and joy. I am so happy to learn that she has and I look forward to reading this memoir. I know I will find it inspiring.

  2. says

    Thanks for the chance to win. I’ll never forget that day. It was so surreal, walking around my college campus and seeing all the people who didn’t know yet – feeling like I should tell them something, but not knowing what to say.

    In my geology class, someone said what had happened, and a girl screamed, “My dad works at the World Trade Center!” as she ran out. We didn’t all have cell phones, then. I don’t know what happened to her, or to him.

  3. says

    My husband lost his best friend on Sept 11. He also worked for Cantor Fitzgerald. He left behind his wife and a young daughter. Not one day goes by that he does not think about his friend. Like Jennifer, his wife knew when the towers fell that her husband was not coming back. I would absolutely LOVE to read her story. Thank you for the opportunity to win this book.

  4. Liz says

    One of the most touching 9/11 books I’ve read is Love You, Mean It. Jennifer’s Where You Left Me sounds a similar note of hopeful survival in the face of unspeakable tragedy.

  5. June says

    This would truly be an interesting story to read about, I still cry and pray for all of the people that were lost on that horrible day. God Bless America-

  6. mona says

    I like to read at lease One novel a year, (may not sound like much to some but that is my life). I have read that one, a fiction. I would love to read a true story and this book sounds good enough to make it two. I agree, WE SHOULD NEVER FORGET! Thank you for the such a nice Givaway.

  7. MIaDenticeCarey says

    I’m very interested in reading this book! (Thanks for sharing…I’ll have to put this on my library list!)

  8. Natalie Krusemeier says

    Each story I read about 9/11 is both horrific and heartwarming. Each person experienced the horror differently and took something unique away. I can’t wait to read this.

  9. Karen Propes says

    Would love to read her story, so many people loss their loved ones, That would be an experience that you would have to be strong to contine their lives. Please enter me in to win this book.

  10. Carla says

    I would love to read her book. The more we learn from this tremendous tragedy, the more we can work to live and love better. It must take tremendous courage to share such personal feelings, and her work is a tribute to all of those who died in and suffered terribly as a result of that day.

  11. Heather Allen says

    I would love to read this book! To read about her strength and how she got through everything shows how much of a strong woman she is!

  12. Colleen Turner says

    Wow, what a poignant memoir! As everyone else I can remember exactly where I was when the towers fell and it will always be with me. I cannot imagine what all the widows and widowers, orphaned children and parents who lost their children went through after this tragedy but I really do feel for them. Thanks for the giveaway!

  13. Natalie says

    This book sounds touching. I will be reading this book, until the end. I usually don’t make it thru an entire book.

  14. Lynn Mayer says

    Oddly enough, I am browsing some books links and found this while watching the memorial service on unveil the ‘Wall of Names” in Pennsylvania.

  15. Ae says

    I read the first 40 pages while I was waiting for my daughter at B&N today. I was in tears reading Gardner’s story about her lated husband, ‘ the love of her life’. I ended up not buying the book, thanks anyways Barns&Noble.


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