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Where You Left Me Hardcover – August 30, 2011
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“With grim humor and sharp observations, Where You Left Me provides trenchant insights into one woman’s resilience.” —Kirkus Reviews
"In this hard-hitting memoir, a wife and mother stricken by tragedy after losing her husband at the World Trade Center gradually regains her ability to love. A former lawyer married to Douglas Gardner, a financial broker, and living with their two small children on Central Park West in Manhattan, Trulson was shuttling her five-year-old son to his first day of school on the morning of September 11. Her husband was already in his office at Cantor Fitzgerald on the 105th floor of the North Tower, where he died in the attacks. (His voice was identified on a 911 tape later sent to Trulson by the mayor’s office, but she never listened to it.) The brokerage firm lost 658 employees that day, the hardest hit of any single company. The closest friends who supported Trulson in her grief were her husband’s professional colleagues, who dedicated a sports center at Douglas’s alma mater, Haverford College. Trulson’s period of “bottomless fury and despair” was exacerbated by the ensuing media circus as she made the rounds of memorial speeches. Ten months later, Trulson became involved with another man, which jars the reader, but, in the end, her narrative achieves a balance between grief and life-affirming determination." —Publishers Weekly
"Decades from now, when people want to know how life went on after the September 11th attacks, I hope they'll turn to this deeply moving, bluntly honest, elegantly written memoir. In Jennifer Gardner Trulson's grief, and in her account of the love that followed, all of us can see the possibilities in our own lives." —Jeffrey Zaslow, coauthor, The Last Lecture
About the Author
Jennifer Gardner Trulson is the founder of the Douglas B. Gardner Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping at-risk children in
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The author lost her husband, an executive at Cantor Fitzgerald, in the World Trade Center on 9/11. This book lays bare her anguish and her steps forward from the suffering she experienced because of the events on that day. Ms. Trulson does not pull any punches regarding her feelings and actions after her husband was killed. There are some revelations that some might consider uncomfortable, but which to me seemed to be a natural response to an unimaginable event. Her transparency, I felt, was refreshing.
I have to admit that having read some of the other reviews before buying this book, I was prepared to find Ms. Trulson to be a shallow, obnoxious jezebel. In fact, I found the opposite. Ms. Trulson is a smart, educated woman in her own right who was presented with a tragedy that most of us will never be able to comprehend. She coped in the way that resulted in her family being able to move forward. In my view, that is the best outcome that anyone could hope for in terms of anyone who lost someone that day. Kudos to her for not whitewashing her thoughts and feelings as she tried to recover from 9/11.
But I must say, I found her constant references to her extravagant lifestyle off-putting, and I was annoyed by her need to reinforce her high society status. On nearly every page there was a mention of her wealth and social status. The detailed description of her lavish second home -- which they had built for them, no less -- was slightly nauseating. I've read reviews that said that those of us who critique this aspect of the book are "just jealous" of her wealth. And that is probably true; don't we all wish we had more money? I live in Queens (where I'm sure Ms. Trulson has never gone) in a small apartment with my husband. And some days, I wish we could live in Manhattan in a doorman building. But my reaction to Ms. Trulson's memoir is more than just envy. She just seemed like a materialist upper West Side snob. And I don't like snobs.
I have read a lot of grief memoirs; for some reason I am fascinated by the grieving process. But this was not what I wanted it to be. I wish I hadn't bought this.