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After the Fire: A True Story of Friendship and Survival

After the Fire: A True Story of Friendship and Survival
Author: Robin Gaby Fisher
ISBN 13: 9780316066228
ISBN 10: 316066222
Edition: Reprint
Publisher: Back Bay Books
Publication Date: 2010-01-06
Format: Paperback
Pages: 261
List Price: $16.00

Every so often we encounter a story that makes us cry and makes us strong, that makes us want to hug our children and call our old friends. This bestselling book captures just such a drama in all its heartrending drama.

On January 19, 2000, a fire raged through a SetonHalldormitory, killing three students and injuring 58 others. Among the victims were Shawn Simons and Alvaro Llanos, roommates from poor neighborhoods who had made their families proud by getting into college.

After the Fire is the story of Shawn and Alvaro's fight to recover from the worst damage St. Barnabas Hospital's burn unit had ever seen. It is the story of doctors and nurses who work with those terribly touched by fire. It is the story of mothers and fathers, of faith and family. And it is the story of the women who loved these men, who knew that real beauty is a thing not seen in mirrors.

Publishers Weekly

Three students died and 58 were injured in the January 2000 fire that arsonists set in the student lounge of Seton Hall University in New Jersey. Newark Star Ledger reporter Fisher tells the story of the two "most badly burned" survivors (roommates Shawn Simons and Alvaro Llanos), proceeding from the devastating fire through the grueling medical treatment into their life-affirming future. A medical education and a detective story unfold within this consistently dramatic account, as Fisher joins a reporter's curiosity and objectivity to a near-familial access to the principals. Unsparing in her description of the hard path to recovery ("The gruesome nature of the work meant that few ever became old-timers in the occupation of treating burns"), Fisher takes the reader inside Saint Barnabas Burn Center, where the charismatic director of the burn unit, Hani Mansour; the nurses; the physical and occupational therapists work miracles, celebrating victories and agonizing over setbacks. Honest and intimate in her account of the stress of "distraught parents," the intense strain upon marriages and relationships, the prolonged suffering and multiple surgeries of the survivors and the evolving friendship of the accidental roommates, Fisher conveys a deep respect and compassion for all involved-except the arsonists. She succeeds in making what might have been yesterday's news into today's inspiration. (Aug.)

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