September 11th. One date that will never be same in our minds after the horrific events in 2001. I'm sure we can all remember exactly where we were that terrible morning. Liz's husband's called and woke her up on his way to work to tell her to turn on the TV and Lisa called a few minutes later. We sat on the phone together that day and watched as the world as we knew it disappeared.
Now, on the tenth anniversary of that senseless tragedy comes a memoir by the widow of a Cantor Fitzgerald executive. And we felt that Jennifer's story is an important one to share as we reflect on the past ten years. You'll shed some tears for sure but we think it will be worth it.
Widowed at age 35 with two small children, Jennifer's story is one of sadness, but also courage and transformation-a tale of how to learn to love again after hitting rock bottom. We highly recommend that you grab a copy and check out why Publisher's Weekly said "This hard-hitting memoir achieves a balance between grief and life-affirming determination." We also love that she went on to found the Douglas B. Gardner Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping at-risk children in New York. In fact, a portion of the proceeds of Where You Left Me will be donated to it.
Here's what you need to know about Where You Left Me: Lucky—that’s how Jennifer would describe herself. She had a successful law career, met the love of her life in Doug, married him, had an apartment in New York City, a house in the Hamptons, two beautiful children, and was still madly in love after nearly seven years of marriage. Jennifer was living the kind of idyllic life that cliches are made of.
Until Doug was killed in the attacks on the World Trade Center, and she became a widow at age thirty-five—a “9/11 widow,” no less, a member of a select group bound by sorrow, of which she wanted no part. Though completely devastated, Jennifer still considered herself blessed. Doug had loved her enough to last her a lifetime, and after his sudden death, she was done with the idea of romantic love—fully resigned to being a widowed single mother . . . until a chance encounter with a gregarious stranger changed everything. Without a clue how to handle this unexpected turn of events, Jennifer faced the question asked by anyone who has ever lost a loved one: Is it really possible to feel joy again, let alone love?
Sounds good to you? Then leave a comment and you'll be entered to win one of FIVE copies. (US Residents only on this one, Sorry!) We'll choose the winners on Sunday September 18th after 6pm PST.
CHICK LIT IS NOT DEAD PRESENTS: JENNIFER GARDNER TRULSON'S 5 LOVES AND A DUD
1. Spin Class Like an addict jonesing for a fix, I cannot function without my regular morning indoor cycling class. There is nothing like a room filled with pony-tailed, Lycra-wearing warriors pounding out the beat to pulsating house music. I’m just not a yoga girl – I can’t lose myself in the quiet. But give me a four-minute climb to Jay Z’s “Empire State of Mind,” and I am on the road to nirvana.
2. Manhattan I grew up in Massachusetts, but moved to New York the first moment I could after graduating from law school. There is something symphonic about the hum and pace of this city. I love that New York is a sprawling metropolis, but a small town for those call it home. It doesn’t matter where one was raised, if you live here, you’re a New Yorker. That was most evident in the aftermath of the devastating attacks of September 11. No one was a stranger after that – with grit, humanity and boundless compassion, New Yorkers came together, resurrected our spirit and restored our faith in our great city.
3. Wint-O-Green Lifesavers. I have a glass bowl in my closet filled with the jumbo, individually-wrapped candies. I’ve been a fan of these green-packaged gems since I was a little girl; my parents used to send them to me in care packages at college. I’ve never taken to gum or those nuclear breath-freshening mints. And, if you take a bite out of one in front of a mirror in a dark room, green sparks come out of your mouth. Try it.
4. HBO/Showtime Original Series Seriously, what’s better than True Blood and Weeds? Or Curb Your Enthusiasm? Or the prematurely-cancelled Deadwood? Great writing and perfect casting make these and HBO/Showtime’s other weekly shows my must-see television. I’m counting the days until the premiere of Dexter.
5. Family holidays A typical week in our apartment looks like seven days of rush hour at Grand Central Station. My children are dashing from school to sports to social functions. My husband and I barely have a moment to wave hello/good-bye as one of us dons the chauffeur hat while the other doles out dollars like a cash machine. I’m sure this family drama plays out in most households, which is why we cherish our school vacation time. Holidays seem to be the only time we, as a family, are in the same place at the same time. It doesn’t matter where we go or not go, the point is to reconnect -- minus the computer and instant messaging, and remind ourselves how fortunate we are to be together. Kids grow up quickly; I’m doing my best to savor these last few years while they are still under my roof.
I absolutely cannot stand dog owners who refuse to clean up after their pooches. As a proud labra-doodle owner (the beautiful, Harley) who walks her dog around the blocks of our neighborhood, I find it utterly appalling to find “offerings” left by lazy owners along the sidewalks. C’mon people, please clean up! My shoes will thank you.
Thanks Jennifer! xo, L&L