Lives and memories intersect

towers-fallingMy son can’t remember 9/11.  I can’t remember the Kennedy assassination.  I suppose each generation has a moment like that, when time seems to split into before and after in the space of just a few days.

Towers Falling manages to weave together the time before and after into a present that still has hope for something different, something good.  Dèja is the center of it all.  Living in a shelter, with parents overwhelmed by things she doesn’t understand and younger siblings who need attention… well, Dèja’s life is complicated.  But wait.  She’s going to a new school.  She meets Ben and Sabeen, who also feel like outsiders and are kind of pushy about being friends with her.  Can things be different?  Will she finally find a home?

It might have been enough to have the stories of Dèja, Ben and Sabeen.  Adding 9/11 to the mix was a little risky.  The way that such a tragic event takes over and affects people’s lives, creeping into the quiet family moments, constantly lingering in offhand offensive remarks,  long after most everyone has gone back to living their daily lives – well, it can be toxic.  It has been exactly that in Dèja’s life, although she doesn’t really understand how at first.  But there is hope.  Maybe exposing it and bringing it into the open can change it for everyone.  Maybe.

Towers Falling is gritty and hopeful and sad and light.  It’s a different take on how memories affect all our lives, how we choose to move forward, and how instead of lingering in the darkness, we can try to move forward in the light.

Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes

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