With Their Eyes is a book about Stuyvesant High School, located four blocks from where the planes crashed into the twin towers and tells of the aftermath in New York City following the attack. Annie Thoms, an English teacher at Stuyvesant High School, was informed about a couple of student-run websites where Stuyvesant students were sharing their experiences of the day of the attacks. She went on to pick ten random high school students that would interview students, faculty, and staff about their experiences on September 11th and the months following. They then put it together to create a play.
This story is filled with so much emotion. It really makes you feel like you were there during this surreal occurrence. My emotions were easily triggered while reading this, given that I have actually never read anything like this before. Whenever there was a very deep and emotional monolog, they would follow it up with one that was less intense and sometimes even humorous. This book was different yet very enjoyable, and the fact that they intentionally included comical parts to prevent the reader from feeling too depressed and overwhelmed with the misery of this day really impressed me and made it easier to read through it.
I was slightly surprised at how a few students did not really seem that affected by it. Some of the ones that really made me tear up were the ones in which the student lost a family member because I can relate to losing, or almost losing a family member. The rest were really just on the puzzlement of what was going on, with some shocked over the fact that it was a terrorist attack.
This was truly a powerful book that covered how high school students and faculty and staff members dealt with the experience of the twin towers collapsing, which many of them could see it through their windows. It shows what was happening to the public and descriptively shows what the person or student was thinking about at the moment it happened and the moments after.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone because it is truly touching. It includes stories which you may personally relate to. Granted we cannot begin to imagine their pain unless you were also there when it happened. But it gives us a thorough visualization of how people actually responded to the event and how dreadful it was. The attacks on September 11, 2001, may have happened more than 12 years ago. This day still has a hovering effect on New Yorkers and Americans everywhere and should be remembered forever.
Reviewed by Cali Matier
I might end up reading this, only because I watched those buildings being built, attended Stuyvesant before it moved from 15th st, to its current location, knew people who were killed in the conflagration, and watched the collapses. This event will go down as the worst in the 21st century in America.