When Jeff Bauman woke up on Tuesday, April 16 th , 2013 in the Boston Medical Center, groggy from a series of lifesaving surgeries and missing his legs, the first thing he did was try to speak. Read more...
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Publisher: Grand Central Publishing$15.99Stronger (Paperback)
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More About Stronger by Jeff Bauman; Bret WitterOverviewNOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE STARRING JAKE GYLLENHAAL The New York Times bestselling memoir of the 27-year-old Boston Marathon bombing survivor.
When Jeff Bauman woke up on Tuesday, April 16th, 2013 in the Boston Medical Center, groggy from a series of lifesaving surgeries and missing his legs, the first thing he did was try to speak. When he realized he couldn't, he asked for a pad and paper and wrote down seven words: "Saw the guy. Looked right at me," setting off one of the biggest manhunts in the country's history. Just thirty hours before, Jeff had been at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon cheering on his girlfriend, Erin, when the first bomb went off at his feet. As he was rushed to the hospital, he realized he was severely injured and that he might die, but he didn't know that a photograph of him in a wheelchair was circulating throughout the world, making him the human face of the Boston Marathon bombing victims, or that what he'd seen would give the Boston police their most important breakthrough. In STRONGER, Jeff describes the chaos and terror of the bombing itself and the ongoing FBI investigation in which he was a key witness. He takes us inside his grueling rehabilitation, and discusses his attempt to reconcile the world's admiration with his own guilt and frustration. . Brave, compassionate, and emotionally compelling, Jeff Bauman's story is not just his, but ours as well.
After the bombing, a survivor's own marathon
When explosions rocked the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon, three people were killed and 260 injured, among them Jeff Bauman. Standing with friends to cheer on his girlfriend, who was running in the race, Bauman saw a man whose appearance and demeanor didn’t fit the crowd leave a backpack and walk away. Bauman was about to suggest to his friends that they move farther up the street when the pack exploded, taking both his legs with it. Stronger is Bauman’s account of his injury and recovery, and a tribute to working-class Boston resilience.
Bauman, with co-author Bret Witter, describes growing up among hard-working, hard-partying relatives and struggling to find his own path. Unable to afford college, he was cooking rotisserie chickens at Costco when the bombing occurred (a co-worker convinced him to keep his employee health insurance, which turned out to be a financial lifesaver). He’s apprehensive at being called a hero despite providing a description credited with helping to identify bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev, and feels pressured to make appearances at multiple charity events, even though the travel saps energy needed for his own recovery.
Bauman describes feeling no hatred toward the Tsarnaev brothers, just sorrow that they chose to hurt strangers out of a sense of their own futility. Carlos Arredondo, the man who saved Bauman’s life (pictured in a famous AP photo in which he’s running next to Bauman in a wheelchair) had his own life changed by stepping up in a moment of crisis. His personal story is heartbreaking, but his friendship with Bauman seems to offer a glimmer of hope.
Bauman’s frank discussion of the long path to recovery, seeded with doubt, setbacks and small victories, makes Stronger both informative and inspiring.
Heather Seggel reads too much and writes all about it in Northern California.