A survivor of 9/11 recounts the ultra–harrowing tale of how she returned from the brink of death after suffering second- and third-degree burns over more than 80 percent of her body.
The first quarter of the book is a banal recitation of the privileged though unremarkable life that Manning led prior to the day in 2001 that changed her and her country. But when the author begins to describe the horrific moments following her encounter with the fire in the lobby of One World Trade Center that “embraced my body tighter that any suitor,” her memoir takes flight. With honesty and simplicity, Manning details her miraculous escapes first from the crippled North Tower; then from limb amputation; and then from death, which stalked her relentlessly for three months. “I had about 18% chance of surviving, assuming I suffered no dire infections or other complications,” she writes. Her once-comfortable life had suddenly become a living hell. After dozens of surgeries, skin grafts and excruciatingly painful therapies, Manning began the difficult process of relearning “the simplest of activities, basic functions I had always taken for granted such as speaking, holding a fork to feed myself, sitting up, getting in and out of bed and walking.” Ten years later, her life has returned to “normality” thanks to the unstinting love shown her by family, friends and strangers. And the hand she thought she would lose has since become a personal “talisman, not of suffering, but of something divine: the power to survive and to heal.”
A flawed but uplifting story of courage, love and compassion.