AM I ALIVE? A Surviving Flight Attendant's Struggle and Inspiring Triumph over Tragedy by Sandy with Gregg Lewis Purl

AM I ALIVE? A Surviving Flight Attendant's Struggle and Inspiring Triumph over Tragedy

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An inspirational memoir of life after a plane crash, by a young flight attendant who went through the hell of the crash and then lived through her own personal hell afterwards. Purl had been an enthusiastic flight attendant for Southern Airways for several years, until April 4, 1977, when her shuttle flight, crashed onto a highway spur in Georgia, killing 72 out of 80 on board. Puff was one of the lucky ones, if luck can include the ensuing psychological traumas which over the next four years brought her to the brink of insanity. Although she was cited for heroism in her unselfish efforts to pull survivors from the wreckage, risking being caught in an after-explosion, her self-perception was one of guilt for having survived. This, coupled with the trauma of the crash itself, led to nightmares, the dissolution of her marriage, and, eventually, shoddy treatment from Southern, who virtually accused her of taking advantage of their liberality in delaying her return to work. Finally, after much professional therapy, Purl found peace in her relationship with God. (In fact, one of the footnotes to this story is her confirmation of the previous reportage of Raymond Moody, who in Life After Life told of the out-of-body sensations of people on the verge of death. As Purl struggled to exit the smoking plane, she had, at one point, near death, felt herself rising above her own body and remembered watching herself from above.) Ultimately, she worked out her fear of flying again and began to work for Republic Airlines, where she has become a strong advocate for airline safety and for the rights of the survivors of crashes. Her story is told with sensitivity and with an eye to assisting others who may go through this experience in the future.

Pub Date: April 16th, 1986
Publisher: Harper & Row