Kirkus Reviews QR Code
STRONGER by Jeff Bauman


by Jeff Bauman with Bret Witter

Pub Date: April 8th, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-4555-8437-6
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

One man's account of life before and after the Boston Marathon bombing.

While Bauman waited near the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon, he happened to notice a man in the crowd: "There was something off about him….He had on a hooded jacket that seemed too heavy, even on a cool day. The thing that really struck me, though, was his demeanor. Everyone was cheering and watching the race….Except this guy….He was all business." Bauman had just looked into the eyes of Tamerlan Tsarnaev a few seconds before his pressure-cooker bomb exploded, taking Bauman's legs with it. With the help of Witter (co-author: Until I Say Good-Bye: My Year of Living with Joy, 2013, etc.), Bauman recounts his story of that day and the months that followed as he worked through excruciating pain, surgeries and rehab. He struggled with anger and depression at what had happened to him and the unexpected and sometimes-unwelcome focus of thousands of strangers. By losing his legs but remaining optimistic and upbeat in front of the cameras, he became a symbol of hope, and he adroitly addresses the emotional push and pull of wanting to be strong for others while feeling weak and extremely vulnerable inside. He leaned heavily on new friends and his girlfriend, Erin, a woman he had broken up with a few weeks before the marathon took place. Gritty details of how his life changed after the bombing intermingle with inspiring moments of throwing the first pitch at a Red Sox game or waving the flag before a Bruins hockey game. Although he lost his legs and his life is permanently changed, Bauman refuses to let those circumstances hold him back.

A moving demonstration of how strength of mind and character helped one man stand tall despite the loss of his legs.