The Woman Who Wasn’t There: The True Story of an Incredible Deception by Robin Gaby Fisher and Angelo J. Guglielmo Jr.
Recommended by Marisa Lowe
Librarian, Lakeside Branch
Everyone remembers where he or she was September 11, whether they lived two blocks away from the towers or a continent away. New Yorker Tania Head was in the 78th floor of the south tower and barely managed to get out before it collapsed. Her fiancé Dave was not as fortunate – perishing in the north tower. In the wake of that horrible attack, Tania had a lot of grief and guilt – she had survived; her loved one did not. About a year later, she surfaced on an online survivors’ forum. She befriended others like her, helped them deal with their grief and gave them a voice in a public conversation that was so largely focused on those who had died. Her efforts were rewarded. Tania met Mayor Giuliani, led tours of the 9/11 memorial site, and, most notably, bolstered the survivors’ effort to have a special survivors’ staircase designated as part of the city’s memorial. It turns out, though, Tania might not have been as up-front about her connection to September 11. Was she really on the 78th floor that infamous day?
The Woman Who Wasn’t There is a fascinating, page-turning read that chronicles Tania’s story. I read it in practically one night, biting my fingernails and shaking my head, all the while wondering, questioning. Although many questions will be answered, you will leave the book with more questions, a humbling reverence for the survivors, and most notably, a frightening awe of one person’s desire to create a purpose, and perhaps a name, for themselves in any way they can.