The Day the World Came to Town by Jim DeFede

The Day the World Came to Town by Jim DeFedeThe Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland by Jim DeFede
Published by HarperCollins Publishers on July 12, 2011
ISBN: 9780062103284
Genres: Nonfiction, History, Social History

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September 11th is a hard day for me. My father was working at the Pentagon at the time, and I spent most of the day thinking he had been killed. I was only 22 years old, fresh out of college and working at my first job, which I left in tears that terrible Tuesday morning as the jets from NAS Oceana screamed over my head on their way to protect the President in Washington. My boyfriend (now husband) was attending class, and I spent the morning with one foot in our living room watching the horrific footage out of NYC and the other foot on our balcony, praying he would get home soon just so I would have someone with me.

I never really thought about where all those planes went on that Tuesday. I think somewhere along the line I heard about Gander, but it didn’t really stick in my head. Then a couple of months ago, my husband, my elder daughter, and I saw Come From Away here in Providence, the musical all about the day the world came to Gander. From the opening scene to the final one, tears fell from my eyes, though I absolutely loved the production.

I was hoping this book would give me a little more information on the day the world came to Gander, yet I feel that Come From Away did a much better job of conveying the kindness and humanity shown by the townspeople to all of the passengers who were marooned on that island. The musical also focused on a bit more diversity among the passengers (including a gay couple) than this book did; while DeFede did speak of a Moldovan family and a Nigerian princess, nearly everyone else were Americans. I would be interested in his having interviewed some more people that weren’t Americans to see how they felt about these terrorist attacks. This book was published in 2002, so it was not long after the attacks had occurred.

This is a wonderful book to read if you’re feeling like people are only out for themselves; this will really restore your faith in humanity. I will say that the Kindle version could have used a more diligent editor; often there were periods where there should have been commas, which caused the writing to become a bit jerky. I also found the writing itself to be rather elementary and simple.

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