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A Widow's Walk: A Memoir of 9/11 Hardcover – August 30, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. September 11, 2001, was the eighth anniversary of Fontana's wedding to firefighter Dave;they had plans for a night on the town;and the second day of kindergarten for their son, Aidan. Dave's last call to her was from the World Trade Tower site after the first plane crashed; he promised to call back in 20 minutes. "This is the worst day of my life," he said. The first chapters of this book follow the grim days of waiting and hoping almost hour by hour, then chronicle the first few of an endless succession of wakes and funerals. Nothing about this widowhood was normal, including its morbid celebrity, the attention of Mayor Giuliani and Senator Clinton and the sometimes predatory media, and the gifts and perks showered on the families. Fontana quickly became a leader in the sisterhood of grieving women (Dave's Brooklyn company, Squad 1, lost 12 men) and is now the president of the 9/11 Widows and Victims' Family Association. Her book is far more personal than political, however, and Fontana's keen eye and ear make for an absorbing account of the first year of coping with historic tragedy. Trained as a comedian and actress, she has been writing skits and monologues since graduating from the High School of Performing Arts, and her observations are colorful, often funny and sometimes merciless. With its built-in drama and pathos and excellent pacing, this book should bring Fontana to the attention of talk shows nationwide.
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The author's husband, a firefighter, died at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. It was their eighth wedding anniversary. Fontana, a playwright and performer, suddenly became a single mother to a kindergarten--age little boy. There have been enough books written about or influenced by 9/11 to fill a large library; but this memoir shows there are still new things left to say about the event. Fontana's own story is one of almost unbearable grief, slow recovery, and, ultimately, personal growth. She is a graceful writer, and the book is emotional without being maudlin. It is also, in places, very funny, and that may be the author's most important message: no matter what happens to us in life, we must find something to laugh about. It's the only way, she says, to overcome tragedy. A worthy addition to the 9/11 shelf. David Pitt
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