Title: The Memory Of Things
Author: Gae Polisner
Length: 288 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Rating: 5 Stars
The powerful story of two teenagers finding friendship, comfort, and first love in the days following 9/11 as their fractured city tries to put itself back together.
On the morning of September 11, 2001, sixteen-year-old Kyle Donohue watches the first twin tower come down from the window of Stuyvesant High School. Moments later, terrified and fleeing home to safety across the Brooklyn Bridge, he stumbles across a girl perched in the shadows. She is covered in ash and wearing a pair of costume wings. With his mother and sister in California and unable to reach his father, a New York City detective likely on his way to the disaster, Kyle makes the split-second decision to bring the girl home. What follows is their story, told in alternating points of view, as Kyle tries to unravel the mystery of the girl so he can return her to her family. But what if the girl has forgotten everything, even her own name? And what if the more Kyle gets to know her, the less he wants her to go home? The Memory of Things tells a stunning story of friendship and first love and of carrying on with our day-to-day living in the midst of world-changing tragedy and unforgettable pain—it tells a story of hope. -Goodreads
Ask anyone old enough to remember 911 as more than just a tragic day in American history; the thing that they can remember most clearly about that day.
Invariably, the majority of those asked will say that they can remember exactly where they were.
But for sixteen year-old Kyle Donohue, the day the towers fell was never so much about where he was. But where and who he was in relation to those places and people who mattered to him most.
The very special girl with beautiful wings and no memory of who or why she was. Who would serve as both his compass and his companion on his journey back to some semblance of sanity.
The Memory Of Things is, on its surface, a book about 911. But one needn't look too far beyond that surface to see that the story told here is about so much more.
Our protagonist, Kyle, begins this book in much the same way that we all live our lives.
That is not to say that we are unaware. We are to an extent. That magical realm of immediate contact that is both a universal fact of human existence, and oddly individual.
That space reserved for mothers, fathers, siblings, jobs, friends, lovers, spouses, bills, pets, and all of the other important minutia which comprises our 'lives'.
A space in which Kyle doesn't quite seem to fit.
Until the day that the towers fall. Forever changing Kyle's world, and everything about it that he once knew to be true. Allowing his exclusionary bubble to become an endless web of connectedness.
A web that though hours old, proves strong enough to anchor him to him to her.
That lost girl on the bridge.
The importance of this book lies not in the fact that 911 acts as its backdrop.
But that 911 acts as a catalyst for growth, change, acceptance, understanding, and a realized self worth for both protagonists.
With Kyle realizing his place of importance to the structure of his family.
While Hannah experiences the same epiphany. But on a much larger scale. As her interactions with both Kyle, and his uncle; help her to grasp the concept of her importance to both herself, and the world at large.
The Memory of Things is a study of lives. How one event can alter countless existences. How many lives can forever validate one.