Wednesday, July 30, 2014

What Do You Buy the Children of the Terrorist That Tried to Kill Your Wife


How can we Americans, who sit and watch the news on our televisions or listen to it on NPR, even begin to comprehend what the limbs and blood and screams and other sounds are like in a terrorist explosion, unless we've actually lived it? In Israel, however, these sorts of conflicts and explosions are a matter of daily life that the occupants must endure. It is in tis sort of life that David Harris-Gershorn writes his first book - a memoir of sorts.

He gives an interesting perspective on this daily life in Israel with its constant threats. While he's not a primary victim of a terrorist bombing, his wife was, making him a secondary victim of sorts. In 2002, Harris-Gershorn and his wife were living in Israel, studying and attending Hebrew university. Harris-Gershorn's wife was a student there. On one fateful date, she was sitting in the cafeteria when a bomb went off literally next to her while she and some of their friends were eating lunch. While eating pasta in the apartment that he shared with his wife, the author got a phone call and learned that his wife had been in the bombing and had been severely burned. Additionally, a piece of shrapnel had embedded itself in her intestines, requiring immediate surgery.

A year later, the family is back in America and trying to recover psychologically speaking from the bomb, even though there has been a physical recovery. The experience left the author very much paralyzed and prompted him to begin a quest to understand the motivation of the attacker in committing such horrendous acts. He ultimately decides that he must meet the bomber himself. For most of the book, we wait patiently for the moment in which the two people meet. While the book itself is beautifully written, it is unfilling to some extent. Perhaps that is ultimately the purpose of the book - to convey the frustration that the author must feel, to tell us that we must not expect answers to all of our questions and that it might be often about the quest as opposed to the answers. This was a wonderful first effort and I look forward to future efforts.

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