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Connecticut River Valley, New England, United States

Friday, January 16, 2015

A Family Can Find a Way to Accept Small Mercies in the Face of Greal Loss

Small Mercies: A NovelSmall Mercies: A Novel by Eddie Joyce
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm a Manhattan girl myself and Staten Island was out there at the end of a ferry ride but really not a familiar place. Graduated from college in '63 and left the city behind, except for a few scattered visits while there were still relatives in The City. But, oh, this book brought it all back--the Italians, the Irish, the small bars and neighborhoods, the families. If you grew up in The City you have to read this book. If you don't know The City, you have to read this book to know what it was like. I was sleeping in when the Towers were hit--I always hated them, thought them ugly and an insult to the beauty of the Empire State Building that my Dad, from local 3, helped put the first radio tower on. An insult to the lacey Manhattan Bridge, on which my Grandfather worked as a ironworker. Right up there with the Verranzano, an ugly strip of highway going to some island. But, in central Vermont, my heart collapsed when a friend called to say the Towers were hit by a plane and I put on the TV, like the rest of the world and watched speechless and listened as it was revealed that this was our new Pearl Harbor, in The City, my city. One of the major thoughts that crossed my mind was how happy I was that my brother, the NYFD retiree, was safely in Florida with his family.

As you can see this book holds a great deal of relevance on many levels for me. There are others who will have the same kinds of connections but the book should be read by anyone who wants to know what living there is like and wants to know what the impact of such a horrible event has on the individuals in a family of the neighborhood. Something that no newspaper account or annual memorial can ever spell out--even for those of us who didn't lose someone in the Towers. A remarkable book filled with real people in a real City.

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