on September 26, 2011
I'm obviously in the minority - but I didn't care for this book at all. I purchased it for my Kindle because of all the 5-star reviews, and because I was curious about the POV of someone who'd lost a loved one on 9/11. I ended up having to force myself to read "Where You Left Me" all the way through.
Contrary to the reviewers who talk about the deep, honest emotion present in Ms. Trulson's story, she came across to me as being very shallow, and far more concerned with her status amongst her group of high-society friends than someone whose world had been truly rocked by the loss of her husband. There are constant reminders of how well-off her family was (and is), as well as repeated references to her husband's stunning good looks. I can't say I'm very much impressed with him, either - someone who constantly says to his wife, "I'm the best thing that ever happened to you," comes across to me as being an arrogant jerk.
This man was the love of her life? Her soulmate? Someone whose death changed her life forever? That's lovely, considering that she felt compelled to resume dating a mere 9 months after his death. She makes a variety of excuses for that, but none of them ring true. Seems to me that she could no longer stand not being someone's arm candy.
If you're looking for a glimpse into the lives of the rich and privileged, then this is the book for you. But if you're looking for a real window into what happened on 9/11, something that will tug at your heartstrings (although really, there's a lot that seems voyeuristic about that), this isn't it. I came away from the book feeling that if I were to encounter Ms. Trulson anywhere in real life, she wouldn't be someone I'd want to get to know.
on August 24, 2011
"Where you left me" is a moving memoir of Trulson's life after her life changed forever. Her husband was killed in the World Trade Center on 9/11, leaving her a young widow with two little children. How she copes is the gist of this remarkable story. She's able to make us understand her immobility at times, her highs and lows and how she reacts to others' well-meaning gestures. It's a great love story and a primer on how to behave in the face of others' tragedies...and how not to behave. Trulson had a great support system and family, but that doesn't make it any easier. Tragedy is the great equalizer.
on September 27, 2011
This book was a total disappointment. It was suppose to be a Memoir for the children of Doug Gardner. What they will get is a book more about their Mom and little essence of Doug. The sadness of his death and 3000 other people on 9/11 will remain with us forever, but not with this book. Jennifer spends her time talking about herself, her pain, her grief, her recovery. Doug was lost in Jennifer's descriptions of the places she ate,her social life of glitz and money she engaged in. She is a lucky girl with all kinds of support from her parents, friends, and even her clothes designer; and ultimately her second chance at love with a very handsome man named Derek. Here too, it's all about her. She picks him up at a bar 10 months after Doug's tragic death. She doesn't wait for Derek to cal her, she calls him and sets up a date with him. She comes on to him rather strong and gets angry when he wants to back off. That doesn't deter her. On one of their dinner dates to a swanky restaurant, she tells Derek that when she does decide to sleep with him, she insists on monogamy. That said, after dinner they head out and instead of going home, they drive to a "charming boutique hotel", checked in and she comments that Derek wasn't her husband and it felt illicit. Then she explains their "first time" wasn't spontaneous, but memorable like riding a bicycle, but much more fun than pedaling a Schwinn. Of course, Derek ends up moving in with Jennifer and her two little children. Then the matter of having more children come up. Jennifer mentions she is 37 and her biological clock was ticking, and tells Derek, they need to "do it quickly" Derek says he would love a baby, but there's no rush. She manipulates him into saying a child from him isn't necessary for his ego. So, no more children - good -Jennifer is relieved. Everything seems to fit into place, perfectly. She ends the book with their wedding and Derek adopting the children. Perfect ending to a perfect life.
There is one hero in this book besides Doug and that is Howard Lutnick, CEO of Cantor Fitzgerald. He lost over 600 employees on 9/11, that included his brother Gary and his best friend, Doug. Howard, a father himself, was dealing with so much pain and loss, yet he took the time to be with his best friend's children. I hope he will consider writing a book and tell us more about the life of his remarkable friend, Doug Gardner.
I knew going into this book, it would be an interesting one. I mean this in a good way. I was not wrong. In fact, I liked this more than I could predict. Mrs. Gardner Trulson did a great job of showing who Doug; her husband was, in the brief moments that he was in the book. Sadly, Doug lost his life in the September 11th attack on the twin towers. I can remember this day and what I was doing. I will remember this one moment that just really made it all real for me. I was driving home from school and I spotted an American flag flying half mast and all of a sudden Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the U.S.A" started playing on the radio. It was at that moment that I broke down and cried and really prayed for all the lost souls and everyone in the world. So I could not imagine nor would I want to be in Jennifer's shoes when she learned about her Doug's death. Luckily for Jennifer, she had a good support system. Jennifer is a strong woman. She was left to raise two young children, which it sounds like they turned out just fine. Where You Left Me is not a book about revenge or regrets. It is a book about love, loss, sorrow, second chances, and happy endings. I dare you to not fall in love with Jennifer.
on October 13, 2011
This book was diappointing for 3 reasons which needs no further explanation, just take my word for it. Or not, that's fine too.
1. It was shallow and much of the book epicentered around materialistic motives.
2. The quality of writing could have been more poetic, more mindfully relfective, more heartfelt, less Vera Wang, more SOMETHING other than the ramble-ish, purposeless nature of the choices of what she wrote about and the diologue!
3. It left me feeling like this was the type of book you read if you are into less than intellectual conversations and are the type of person who's into gourmet cheeses cubes and celebrity gossip.
Sorry, just being honest. Forgive me all who disagree, I'm glad you enjoyed the book :)
on August 25, 2011
a touching tribute to her late first husband, Jennifer Gardner Trulson's account of loss and new love is touching, poignant, and relatable. i recommend it for anyone who likes a phoenix-from-the-ashes story.
on September 1, 2011
What an amazing way to pay tribute to all the loves in your life. Jennifer Gardner Trulson manages to take one of the worst days of her life and allow the rest of us to experience it as more than sadness. September 11th signified a way to preserve her memories of her first love and her children's father, and the years after, a way to create new memories with her second love, Derek. He entered Jennifer's world with such grace and respect, who could not love him. After reading the book, you will truly feel like you know Jennifer, her family and how she goes through life with integrity, humor and the ability to address anything that she faces.
on September 24, 2013
This is one of several books that I bought after 9/11/13. In particular, I purchased this after reading An Unbroken Bond: The Untold Story of How the 658 Cantor Fitzgerald Families Faced the Tragedy of 9/11 and Beyond because I was seeking a very focused and personal story of how one family coped with the events of 9/11. This book, with its unsparing honesty, certainly delivered that.
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.
on September 3, 2011
I had only just turned six when 9/11 occurred. I was in first grade, and just as it is for most young children, everything in my world was black and white so to say. Evil and good where separated easily, and I was wrapped in my own little safe cocoon based on my age alone. While 9/11 did not directly affect me in any ways, I would be lying to say the world and lives of every US citizen did not change in a variety of small and huge ways because of it.
Jennifer Garden Trulson and her family are one example of the big variety. Prior to 9/11 Jennifer, Doug, her husband, and their two children lived an easy and average life. They all loved each other as well as the time they spent together. However, everything changed one day when Doug went to work at one of the two World Trade centers and never returned, and that- as well as the plethora of things that came after- are what Where You Left Me is based on it.
To be honest Where You Left Me isn't the easiest of books to read, especially in the first couple of chapters. Not because it is boring or written badly, but because of how beautifully it is written and told. Jennifer's emotions and feelings easily jump of the page and come to life, and because of that, I spent the majority of the first hundred or so pages crying and even full out sobbing at points. Not to say this book is one gigantic tear fest, because it wasn't that either. Instead, it's a book that addresses the sadness, hope, occasional joy, and paths that follow a tragic and life-altering event, one that made me tear up, laugh, and even figuratively jump for joy at different points; sometimes all within the same page.
My favorite part of Where You Left Me, though, was seeing how Jennifer came to learned to live with it all and in the process began to live again. It wasn't an easy journey, especially within the first few months, but by the end her eventful journey was a major focus of the book, one that nearly any reader will fully follow and root for the entire time. I also enjoyed the different tidbits of information about the widows of 9/11 and Jennifer's husband's company that came out of the course of the book, because when brought together with the rest of the book, it created an engaging and thoughtful story overall.
Bittersweet, emotional, and engaging, Jennifer Gardner Trulson's Where You Left Me does the one thing that most 9/11 memoirs, TV specials, and news articles, don't do: it shows the reader an emotionally charged and realistic story that showcases what happens after the cameras stop rolling. I can't suggest it highly enough to say the least!
on August 30, 2011
Like others, I feel the same about this book. One said, I dare you not to fall in love with Jennifer Gardner, and I agree. I saw this book in People magazine and happened to remember it last night, getting the book on my kindle right after it was released and couldn't put it down today. Where You Left Me will have you crying, laughing, crying while laughing, and leave you feeling whole and happy for Jennifer as she processes the undeniable grief she felt, and moves on towards a new future with an amazing, wonderful man. The way the employees of Cantor Fitzgerald pulled together after the tragedy lets me know that there are wonderful companies and people out there, and shows the true American spirit.