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In an Instant: A Family's Journey of Love and Healing Paperback – February 12, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. There's a reason Lee Woodruff's name comes first in this collaboration. While this celebrity memoir revolves around the war injuries suffered by ABC News anchor Bob Woodruff, it's really his wife's story. Drawn from the journals she kept during his recovery and also delving deeply into the history of the couple's courtship and family life, this gritty memoir is well served by Lee's capable and compelling speaking voice. Woodruff's vocal control is strong, even mesmerizing, and she peppers the grave reminiscences with funny stories and witty observations. Her voice sometimes breaks with emotion, whether describing her fears after learning of her husband's condition or earlier heartaches when coping with a miscarriage or learning of the profound hearing loss of one of their twin daughters. Bob intervenes occasionally to describe his family, various career ups and downs, and what he remembers about the incident that rendered him a casualty of war. Listeners may wish to have a tissue or two on hand while they listen to this beautiful story of marriage for better and for worse. Simultaneous release with the Random House hardcover.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Lee Woodruff and Bob Woodruff live in Westchester County, New York, with their four children. Bob Woodruff was named co-anchor of ABC’s World News Tonight in December 2005. On January 29, 2006, while reporting on U.S. and Iraqi security forces, Mr. Woodruff was seriously injured by a roadside bomb that struck his vehicle near Taji, Iraq. Lee Woodruff is a public relations executive and freelance writer.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks; Reprint edition (February 12, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812978250
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812978254
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (173 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #299,819 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Lee Woodruff is the coauthor with her husband, Bob Woodruff, of the number one New York Times bestseller In an Instant, the author of the essay collection Perfectly Imperfect and the novel Those We Love Most. She is a contributing editor to CBS This Morning and has written numerous articles on family and parenting for Parade, Ladies' Home Journal, Redbook, Country Living, and Family Fun. She and Bob founded the Bob Woodruff Foundation to assist wounded service members and their families. Woodruff has four children and lives in Westchester County, New York.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

124 of 128 people found the following review helpful By Shawn S. Sullivan on February 28, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In An Instant is a poignant and powerful book of love, of war, of hope, of recovery and of life. It is truly hard to find an accolade this book does not deserve. It is about Bob Woodruff and and his awful injury while covering the Iraqi war, a month after being promoted to co-anchor replacing Peter Jennings. A man at the apex of his career, who loves doing what he does, a noted world traveler and correspondent and, In An Instant, his and his family's life is quite literally blown to pieces. But it is also book very much about Lee and Bob's marriage, from their first date, and one that would have been worth reading even without the trauma suffered covering the war. Lee writes wonderfully about the career risks Bob made, and she lovingly supported, as he went from a lucrative law career to pursue his passion that he developed for journalism and the rush of covering news events, large and small. Tiananmen Square to a train wreck in Northern California.

This wonderfully written book was done with his wife, Lee, clearly a very capable writer herself and mother of their four children. The construction on the book is cleverly done with its movement back and forth in time, but never confusing to the reader and always done to develop a point or complete a story. Written collaberatively, it is part Lee, descriptive and emotional, holding a family together and, part Bob, ever the facts based journalist. What began as a journal being kept by Lee for Bob, knowing he would want to know what happened while he was in a coma, became this book, appropriately subtitled, "A Family's Journey of Love and Healing".

The recovery of Mr. Woodruff is clearly nothing short of miraculous in an age where we don't believe in miracles.
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79 of 83 people found the following review helpful By prisrob TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 1, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Lee Woodruff questions her husband's physician " Will he still love me?" Yes, his phyiscian answers. I have not had a patient who didn't love the people he loved before."

'In An Instant' is more than a poignant review of the year in the life of Lee and Bob Woodruff. This book is a reflection of their thoughts, prayers, experiences and day to day life. Bob Woodruff, ABC journalist, was in Iraq to report on the war and was critically injured. Half of his brain, the left half was inujred and that portion of his skull was removed to decrease the swelling. He was operated on at once and flown to Germany to be stabilized and then to Bethesda, Maryland with his critical brain injury. It took 5 weeks of constant care and love by his family and medical team before he awoke. Lee tells us about her struggles and the family issues and the constant anxiety of watching her husband fight for his life. At one point at the end of the five weeks, Lee got into bed with Bob amidst his tubes and lines and told him he needed to fight, they needed him. Two days later she walked into the Intensive Care Unit,and he was sitting up in bed, and said, "Sweetie, Where ya been?" From that time the fight began in earnest for Bob who had suffered a traumatic brain injury to renew his life.

Lee Woodruff, the real hero of the story, gives us an honest, compelling look at what life was like for her. Trying to find time for four children, her husband who was crtically ill, and then recovering and balancing what she needed to do to keep her body and soul together. She talks often of the other families she met, the Iraq and Afghanistan war wounded. When Bob finally did wake up and his rehab and recovery began in earnest,life became busier and she had to become more resilient.
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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Arline Curtiss on March 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover
It is spiritually uplifting to see beautiful people behave in a beautiful way. Bob Woodruff's wife, Lee, in trying to assess what is now possible after her husband's terrible brain injury asks the doctor, "But will he still love me?" It is a moment of substance in a world where image too often passes for it. This is more than a book of recovery. Bob Woodruff's setback in life seems to be more than that. It seems to have widened his horizons and connected him to his fellow man in ways that he says he could not previously have imagined.

Many people think that happiness is somehow caused by circumstances other than their own thinking. This is not true. Lottery winners, plucked from otherwise disastrous fates by Lady Luck, seldom maintain their new sense of well-being. And normal people, overwhelmed with sudden and unexpected tragedy, can regain their inner happiness despite grievous losses.

I am a board-certified cognitive behavioral therapist specializing in depression. I have seen many different reactions to tragedy among those coming to my office seeking help. When you see someone calmly accept what fate has just handed them, when you watch them immediately seek to make something worthwhile out of their new day instead of vainly looking back and wishing for their former life, when you notice how they steadfastly refuse to entertain a negative option, you can't help but be elevated right along with them. They inspire you to hope that when your own turn to suffer comes along, perhaps you too can prevail as these heroes who have gone ahead to show the way. This is not a book about recovery, this is a book about trancendence. A. B. Curtiss, author of BRAINSWITCH OUT OF DEPRESSION
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