I feel like if I start talking about this book I will never ever stop, so I’m just gonna dive right in and apologize ahead of time for any stream-of-consciousness that flows out of my head.
Wendy Mill’s All We Have Left is riveting. It’s a bone-jarring, earth-shaking, pulse-racing read that you will eat in one sitting only to find yourself unable to move on and let go because every single person in this world NEEDS to read this book.
If you are on the fence about reading All We Have Left, JUMP OVER THE FENCE ALREADY AND READ IT. We may not have cookies, but we have something even better – we’ve got an unbelievable novel that tackles the complex topic of 9/11 – the day the world changed forever – in a way that is profound, powerful, and completely mesmerizing.
This is a book that I will now and forever recommend to all of my friends (and my enemies too, because seriously, every ignorant and spiteful person on this planet needs to read this book and learn the error of their ways). This is a book that I will proudly hand my children one day, and say, “Here. THIS is what I want you to know about 9/11. Here is a story I want you to absorb and learn from. Here is book that will change you forever and leave you irrevocably a better, more empathetic, more humane person.”
“People do terrible things. People do beautiful things. It’s against the black backdrop of evil that the shining light of good shows the brightest. We can’t just focus on the darkness of the night, or we’ll miss out on the stars.”
This quote is everything this book is about. It tells the story of 9/11 in a way that highlights the acts of kindness, bravery, and selflessness which defined many survivors’ experiences while still showcasing the gritty, horrifying reality of the situation inside the towers, including the all-encompassing terror and desperation to escape, to survive, and to keep living.
September 11, 2001 changed the world forever. While the majority of Americans weren’t experiencing the tragedy from inside the World Trade Center, all Americans were united as we watched in horror as the events of that day unfolded. Now, nearly fifteen years after the attacks, most of our teenagers weren’t old enough (or even alive) to remember that fateful day.
Wendy Mills brings history to life in a way that is sure to stay with readers, and she does it with the reverence, respect, and gentleness such a harrowing tragedy deserves. But what I love best about this novel is that, while she doesn’t shy away from the grief and pain left in the aftermath of that day, she also doggedly chases after the hope and optimism that united so many wounded people as our nation tried to rebuild and heal.
All We Have Left is everything you could ever want in a novel centered around 9-11. While the story is fiction, the heart of it is anything but. This is one historical narrative you cannot afford to skip. It’s a painful read, but fear not – there is light at the end of the tunnel, and you may find (as I did) that you come out the other side better for it.
Rating: 5+/5 stars