The Memory of Things
I read "The Memory of Things" in one sitting. I was so intrigued by the story that I honestly couldn't put it down. The writing was fantastic and I really found myself completely invested in the lives of the characters. The Memory of Things is such a fitting title.
The morning of September 11, 2001 starts out like any other school day for sixteen-year-old Kyle Donohue. That all changes when moments later he watches out the window as the first twin tower comes down after being hit by a pl ...more
Tragedy typically brings out the best in people, and often they are more honest with their feelings, p ...more
I usually resist reading books about 9/11 and I can only think of one that I've read before this one, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, which is a beautiful story of a little boy coping with the loss of his father on 9/11. But it didn't focus on the actual events of that horrible day. I've shied away maybe because I just felt it was too soon. I was struck by Gae Polisner saying that very same thing in her notes at the end, "I didn't start the story right away. Not for years in fact. In my hea ...more
On the day of 9/11, Kyle is trying to hurry home to Brooklyn. They let out school so everyone can try to get home. On the way he sees a girl looking over the bridge. He thinks she's going to jump. He grabs her arm and makes her come with him. She's wearing white angel wings.
The story is written in two different views. One from Kyle and the other from the girl which is written in bits and pieces. Fragments of memories she can't quite grasp. She doesn't even know her name. She feels like she's fa ...more
In Gae Polisner's exquisitely moving novel, The Memory of Things , 16-year-old Kyle is in class at Stuyvesant High School when the first of the Twin Towers collapses. The school is evacuated and students flee for the s ...more
I knew what to expect going in...."a story of two teenagers finding friendship,
comfort, and first love in the days following 9/11".
What I didn't know, was how incredibly talented Gae Polisner is. This is an elegantly written novel.....layered with imagery, intimacy, and authenticity. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough...or avoid re-visiting 'memories & feelings' from 9/11.
This novel is completely gripping with moments of heart pounding adrenalin fear, and deep sadne ...more
Another gripping "young"-adult novel, but this time, with an unforgettable historical New York City background setting.
THE MEMORY OF THINGS pulled me right in as a shocked and frightened crowd scurries across the bridge away from downtown Manhattan with its falling glass, sky of ash and acrid burning smell. Two planes have already hit, one building is down and 15 year old Kyle is worried as he knows his NYPD dad is in the heat of it somewhere.
This coming-of-age story leans heavily...more
“On walls and windows and bins and cars all around the rubble pile, New Yorkers have left messages in the grainy dust. They are expressions of anger, love, despair and patriotism, a form of temporary poetry that will last not nearly as long as the memories.”
- LOS ANGELES TIMES, FROM TIME_WIRE REPORTS, SEPTEMBER 16, 2001
He moves with the crowd, moving away from downtown, where the towers are, were … he’s not sure yet. A quick but steady pace, the crowd moving with that steady, heavy flow ...more
Other reviewers and the official marketing blurb do a good job of summarizing the plot, so I won't do that here. Polisner has taken an event that is seared into nearly everyone's individual memory and done two things: set a coming-of-age story against it, and captured the emotional spirit of how most everyone, in the days following the attacks, just wanted to do something -- anyt ...more
This is not a grim story, but still brought to life the tragedy of 9-11. It captured brilliantly how one moment can change what we value, and radically shift our perceptions. Polisner writes:
"So now I get it. Now I fully understand. Tuesday and those planes, they've broken so ...more
This is Kyle Donohue's story. A story about a teenage boy who has to endure for one week amid a swirl of unthinkable tragedy he is forced to deal with on his own. He finds a girl with angel wings frightened and huddling on the Brooklyn ...more
CW: (view spoiler)[PTSD, serious disability caused by car accident, being a carer for a disabled person, 9/11 - descriptions of plane crashes and the search for survivors and then removal of bodies, suicidal thoughts, grief/depression after death of mother from cancer (hide spoiler)]
Well this was moving, but had so much going on that it felt a bit diluted, if you know what I mean.
I can't give too many details because they would be spoilers, but if you are interested, then look at the ...more
Tuesday, and those planes, they’ve broken something. Permanently. And in the process, they’ve changed everything. And everyone.
September 11, 2001: Two planes fly into the Twin Towers. Kyle Donohue's NYC high school is evacuated after they witness the South Tower collapsing. While fleeing to his home on the other side of the Brooklyn Bridge, he spots an ash-covered girl wearing costume wings. She looks as i ...more
A touching, poignant story.. the subject matter handled with grace and sensitivity and compassion.
There's a lyrical way to the story as it goes along... the dual POVs were handled well and did a wonderful job putting you in the heads of these two people
Miss Polisner does an amazing job capturing the atmosphere, thoughts, and feelings during and after 9/11. It brought me back to my memories of the day.
I was 16 and in ...more
The only 9/11 book I've really been able to read and enjoy was Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. I'm not sure any book could top that one for me, but overall, I thought The Memory of Things was a moving and well-crafted story.
The book takes place on the morning of September 11, 2001, and opens a ...more
This book begins during the attack on 9/11. Kyle's dad is a first responder and Kyle knows his dad is at ground zero, trying to help. His mom and little sister are in California, where Kerri is trying to be an actress. His uncle is almost paralyzed after an accident. There's a lot on his plate even before you factor in the girl he met on his way home. (The girl had angel wings on and a case of amnesia. So who is she, wh ...more
I liked Kyle well enough. He's a typical boy in an atypical situation and I enjoyed being in his head. The interactions with his Uncle Matt were some of my favorite scenes and I was a bit surprised at that. In the brief span of the story, Kyle shows a lot of growth.
The story arc was interesting and I loved the snippets of the girl's POV that we got. I will admit that it was a bit confusing at first, but it ...more
What I liked:
-The sense of unity in New York after the ...more
But my students don't have those memories. They don't know what it was like that day, and through fiction, this book creates a way to imagine what life was like for a New York City teen on those horrific early days. Told with nuance and compassion, The Memory of Things opens a door to the past tha ...more
The Memory of Things is a touching, poignant story about two teenagers who meet in the days following the terrorist attacks on 9/11. Kyle is at school in Manhattan when the first tower is hit. The school sends the kids home, and Kyle heads across the Brooklyn Bridge towards his home. As he is crossing the bridge, he sees a girl cowering in the corner who looks shell-shocked and is covered with soot and grime from the building attacks. In the midst of the chaos and trauma, Kyle decides t ...more
So how does one do justice to one of the worst days in American history? Gae Polisner did it! THE MEMORY OF THINGS is a tender, deeply moving story of two teens grappling with the terrorist attack. The story moves seamlessly between a girl in angel wings and Kyle, a boy who finds her huddling on the Brooklyn Br ...more
Please note that, although I originally tried to assign star-ratings to my book reviews (and, thus, you will see some of my favorite books with stars), I have stopped doing so. A 3-star review, for example, can mean such different things to readers and re ...more