Thursday, September 24, 2009

Book Review: Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan

September 11, 2001. New York City.

It's Claire's senior year, and she's in class when the first tower is hit. She's on the street with her little brother, evacuating the school, when the second tower falls.

Peter is skipping to pick up the new Bob Dylan at Tower Records.

And Jasper slept through it.

Peter and Claire are classmates, though they don't really know each other. Peter met Jasper at a party the night before (a party that Claire was also at), and they were planning to hook up and see a movie that night. Until their world is ripped apart. This is the story of how the terrorists attacks of 9/11 impact their lives, bring them together, and how, in the midst of tragedy, love is always the higher law.

I didn't know if I was ready for a book about 9/11, but David Levithan was, and I'm really, really glad that he was. As Claire, Peter and Jasper's stories dance around each other and finally intertwine, Levithan lays open the raw emotion of a nation's horror and shock at the cataclysmic destruction of that day. In this short but powerful novel, Levithan captures the desperate stuggle of a nation to unite, to comprehend the incomprehensible, and the need to do something, anything, to overcome hate with love. In one of the most poignant moments, Claire sums up the feel of the book when she lays her heart bare to Jasper, "I think that if you were to somehow measure the weight of human kindness, it would have weighed more on 9/11 than it ever had."

If you only read one piece of historical fiction this year, let it be Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan.

United We Stand.


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