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That Day in September by Artie Van Why
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That Day in September: 09/11/11

cover art

In the middle of summer I received an email from Artie Van Why asking if I would be interested in reading his memoir That Day in September, a personal account of the attacks on the Twin Towers. As I was gearing up for my craziest semester in school, I reluctantly said yes but made no promises as to when I'd get the review posted. I'm glad he said yes to those terms.

Rewinding to September 11th, 2011, I can't make any dramatic claims to being an eye witness to events. By the time my radio alarm clock when off in California, both towers had already fallen. What I can remember is Carl Kassell saying in his usual dead pan way that to those of us waking up in California, the New York skyline that existed when we went to bed no longer did. From there he went on to outline the timeline of events up to the point where the towers fell.

Artie Van Why was in a building across from the towers. He felt the and heard the impact. He saw the initial carnage. He describes it all in a gut wrenching but respectful way.

Besides describing what happened that day, he also builds his life story to explain the circumstances that brought him to being at Ground Zero. Afterwards he describes how he coped, how he grieved and how he finally was able to get back to living his life.

His book is also a stage play and the theatrical connections comes through in his pacing, word choice and imagery. The book reads likes a Spaulding Grey monologue. If I had a chance to see That Day in September performed live, I would buy front row tickets.

I received an egalley from the author.

Four stars

Comments (4)

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Comment #1: Monday, September, 12, 2011 at 08:39:37


This sounds like an interesting one. I keep going back and forth about if I want to read a 9/11 book. Not sure this one would be for me, but I definitely appreciate the review!

Comment #2: Wednesday, September 14, 2011 at 22:47:23


I wasn't sure either... nor am I really looking to read a bunch more. The author, though, was friendly and the book, while covering some aweful details, is beautifully written.

Comment #3: Monday, September, 12, 2011 at 16:56:08

Julie @ My Book Retreat

As you know, I too read this one. Excellent review. I hadn't thought of what it was like living on the west coast at that time.

Comment #4: Wednesday, September 14, 2011 at 22:54:05


I saw your review. I think a bunch of us were reading it all around the anniversary.

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