Friday, October 10, 2008

After the Fire: A True Story of Friendship and Survival by Robin Gaby Fisher

On January 19, 2000, a fire raged through Seton Hall University's freshman dormitory, killing three students and injuring 58 others. Among the victims were Shawn Simons and Alvaro Llanos, roommates from poor neighborhoods who made their families proud by getting into college. They managed to escape, but both were burned terribly. After the Fire is the story of these young men and their courageous fight to recover from the worst damage the burn unit at Saint Barnabas hospital had ever seen. It is the story of the extraordinary doctors and nurses who work with the burned. It is the story of mothers and fathers, of faith and family and the invisible ties that bind us to each other. It is the story of the search for the arsonists--and the elaborate cover-up that nearly obscured the truth. And it is the story of the women who came to love these men, who knew that real beauty is a thing not seen in mirrors.

This is a quick read, but it is very powerful! I was instantly drawn into Shawn and Alvaro's story. Some might find the description of the burn treatment a bit much, but I thought the detail was necessary. It wasn't overly graphic, but was honest in showing the amount of pain the boys went through on a daily basis.

My only complaint with the book is that the ending seemed to be a little abrupt. The story focuses mostly on the burn treatment and rehabilitation with less attention being paid to how Shawn and Alvaro get along in their daily lives now. Maybe this isn't as exciting of a story lines, but it seemed to warrant a little more attention then it received.

Shawn and Alvaro's strength of character is wonderful and uplifting. The support they received from each other and their friends and family made their amazing recoveries possible. Although their lives haven't gone back to exactly what they were before the fire I think both young men learned valuable lessons about what they can achieve. 4 stars

Order After the Fire

No comments: