"This, I think, is how people survive: Even when horrible things have been done to us, we can still find gratitude in one another." ~pg. 76
Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan is a stellar novel that hits at the heart of what it felt like during and immediately after the 9/11 attack in 2001. The story is told from the perspective of three narrators, all of whom are in New York at the time of the attacks, whose lives become intertwined as they struggle to understand the world that emerges in the wake of the attacks. It's a story of fear, love, and hope during difficult times.
What I love about this book:
- It poignantly illustrates (to an audience who, with each passing year, is becoming increasingly removed from the experience of actually being in the world at that time) what it felt like to watch the world fundamentally change.
- It's told from the perspective of three distinctivenarrators, each of whom has a powerful, unique voice.
- It shows the intricate ways that lives intertwine, disconnect, and reconnect.
- It is short. Though I love a long read (in fact, I'm often sad when an excellent book ends), I've come to appreciate authors who can convey a powerful message with a minimal amount of words. This book can reach more readers because of its accessibility and brevity.
- This novel is hopeful and powerful, but does not hide from some of the negative repercussions of the attacks and the way that our nation began to change.
- It's a story about the complexities and serendipity of love, and the way that we as people are all that we have to hold onto in the face of devastation.
- Despite the grim circumstances, it is a book that is full of hope.
This one is definitely worth a read. For those of us who still remember all too well exactly where we were and what it felt like, it is consoling to read and reflect. For those who are younger and do not fully understand why that moment impacted our nation as it did, it is a glimpse into a realistic portrait of what that day (week, month, year) felt like for those of us who lived through it. It's a testament to those who lost their lives and to the way that it marked our country, but it's also a reflection on the impact that the attack had on our nation and the dark cloud that it cast over the years to come. It's great for young adult readers because it helps them understand a bit better how the world that surrounds them today was shaped by that moment.
"I think that if you were able to somehow measure the weight of human kindness, it would have weighed more on 9/11 than it ever had. On 9/11, all the hatred and murder could not compare with the weight of love, of bravery, of caring. I have to believe that. I honestly believe that. I think we saw the way humanity works on that day, and while some of it was horrifying, so much of it was good." ~pg. 106