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American Widow Hardcover – September 9, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Villard; Gph edition (September 9, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345500695
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345500694
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 7.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #172,973 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Torres's husband, Eddie, started work at Cantor Fitzgerald in the World Trade Center on September 10, 2001. The next day, Alissa became one of the terrorist widows of 9/11. American Widow chronicles Alissa's first year without Eddie—including the birth of their child, two months after his death. It also traces their courtship, marriage and the last few days of Eddie's life. This deeply personal book is at times raw, angry, bleak and lyrical. The best prose comes out of Torres's moments of pure, lonely grief, which punctuate her confusing and at times horrifying experiences with various aid agencies, family members, friends and strangers. Choi's art is reminiscent of the work of Andi Watson and Craig Thompson, and complements Torres's writing by emphasizing the ordinary in Alissa's extraordinary circumstances. Torres and Choi do best with the confusion and shock that come with a sudden death, laying out scene after scene without quite connecting them—just as events seem to go on and on without meaning when one has lost someone important. What this book lacks in technique and narrative drive, it makes up in its heartfelt look at the universality in one woman's loss. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Alissa Torres lives in New York with her family.

Choi is a graduate of the School of Visual Arts in New York City and has produced short comics as well as illustrations for The New York Times.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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The drawing and art of the novel are beautiful and extremely well done.
Dante
We used it in one of my college classes to understand and relate comics to modern and post modern art.
N. Spearman
It's an interesting book because the author tells us both too much and not enough.
E. A. Montgomery

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Tim Lasiuta on September 10, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The events of September 11, 2001 will go down as the day international terror began to rule the United States and an era of battle readiness gained prominence. For Alissa Torres, and those left behind by the deaths of the thousands in the towers, a painful chapter in life began.
On many levels, Torres bares her soul as she wades through the intense emotions surrounding the loss of Eddie Torres, her husband. Pregnant on September 11, 2001, the birth of her child by a dead husband put her into a situation even more intense. Betrayal, loss, anger, loneliness, and desperation ooze through in the sparse diary/dialogue laden narrative. The art by Sungyoon Choi is simple, and does not overwhelm the angst filled text.

Content wise, most Americans will never get a more honest education in the politics of humanitarian aid, whether Red Cross, or government based. The frustration the survivors must have dealt with are intimidating in lowpoint emphasis. The transformation from wife, to widow, to victim, to charity dependent, and finally to independence is compelling.

This will be a controversial book given the subject matter. Agree with Ms Torres or not, you will find yourself wanting to find out `the rest of the story'.

Tim Lasiuta
[...]
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Monie Garcia VINE VOICE on August 23, 2008
Format: Hardcover
American Widow is a graphic novel revealing the story of Alissa Torres who was left widowed at seven months pregnant by the tragedy of 9/11.

The story includes that fateful day up to the one-year anniversary with alternating flash backs including scenes of Eddie at 10-years old, his life before meeting Alissa and their courtship, marriage and pregnancy. In chapter one alone, my arms were covered with goose bumps. 9/11 was just Eddie's second day at his new job with Cantor Fitzgerald. Included is Alissa's deeply frustrating struggle with several assistance agencies and the government plus you see how different friends and family react to her circumstances.

The story exposed shows us just a glimmer of what surviving family members endured that I would have never imagined. When Alissa's private thoughts are shared you get a sense of how difficult and confusing this time in her life was and you can't help but be affected by this deeply personal story.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By E. A. Montgomery on June 2, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is a biographical graphic novel in the tradition of "Maus" or "Fun Home", with flashbacks intercut into the narrative. It's an interesting book because the author tells us both too much and not enough. There are things that you want to know, because to know them would allow you to sort your emotions about her experience into more easily labeled boxes. It's too much, in a sense, because aspects of the story (which I won't spoil) may make it too easy to sort it into boxes. It's a bit contradictory, I know, but what about 9/11 is ever easy?

One of the most powerful aspects of American Widow is how the story of 9/11 changes around her, while her circumstance has not changed at all. She wakes up a widow, and she goes to sleep a widow. In the hours between the public has their own needs, their own opinions, their own exploitative desires. She just has a husband to bury. The common perception that aid flowed freely to help the victims of 9/11 due to the generosity of the American people is a bit too good to be true. Where large sums of money go, so go people invested in that money. 9/11 was no different. American Widow details the maze set up for those who lost loved ones, a maze ironically easier to navigate if you weren't lost in grief.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Ennio Ranaboldo on September 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover
With time inexorably passing by, and amongst the far too many pointless narratives exploiting 9/11 to nobody's gain, here comes Alissa Torres' extraordinary book. The blessing of truth, unmitigated and at times scathing, as it emerges page after page in American Widow, does more for our collective and individual insight than any increasingly pale, and vain, anniversary celebration. And the splendid drawings make this book highly recommendable for any curious and intelligent child and for all New Yorkers, really.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By GraphicNovelReporter.com on November 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Alissa and Eddie shared not just an American love story, but a New York one, a story that didn't receive the happy ending it deserved. They met in a downtown club, and as they left to take a walk and get to know each other better, they emerged into the shadow of the World Trade Center. At least this is how Alissa remembers it in the pages of American Widow, an emotionally wrenching but never sentimental work that manages to whittle this epic tragedy down to the intensely personal.

Alissa and her new beau, Luis Eduardo "Eddie" Torres, enjoyed a whirlwind romance. They met in August 1998, just a week before Eddie was scheduled to face a possible deportation back to Colombia if his work visa expired. He stayed, and Alissa stayed with him. Seven months later they were married.

In September 2001, Alissa was seven months pregnant and Eddie was unemployed. His desperate search for work brought him to Cantor Fitzgerald, who hired him to start on September 10th in their offices in the World Trade Center. The next day, he died along with all the other employees in the office that day.

American Widow doesn't wallow in self-pity, but it does clearly evoke the emotions --- still so raw --- that we all felt seven years ago. Alissa Torres reportedly decided to tell her own 9/11 story in graphic novel form after she remarked to a friend that all the pitfalls she faced in dealing with its aftermath made her think that her life was like a comic book. Perhaps, although it can definitely be said that the medium lends itself awfully well to the story she is telling. In a way, this blending of unadulterated passionate feelings, coupled with cold hard facts, is perfect for the graphic medium.
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