cover image Stronger


Jeff Bauman and Bret Witter. Grand Central, $26 (256p) ISBN 978-1-4555-8437-6

Jeff Bauman was next to the bomb when it exploded at the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013. Pictures of him flooded the media as he became the iconic image of the tragedy: Bauman in a wheel chair, legs missing from the knees down. The following weeks of speculation and the eventual police shootout with the Tsarnaev brothers is well documented. Bauman and co-author Bret Witter are telling a different story, a personal story. Bauman is a likable narrator; he keeps the tone light while admitting the difficulty of his situation. He doesn't try to elevate himself. His honesty is welcome: he's a college dropout, lives at home with his parents. Bauman does not sugar coat the heroism of his situation. He's upfront about the difficulties of amputation, of his family adjusting to new realities, of being a sudden media personality, all which makes the book a worthy read. Bauman's story will serve to help others who have suffered similar losses, but the book feels rushed, calculated as is common with timely events, to get the story "out there". Bauman intentions feel genuine, pushing the book out is obviously a publisher decision which is understandable but affects the impact. The media frenzy over the bombing isn't over, and will likely continue through the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. (Apr.)