A Second Chance at Life: On the sunny morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, terrorists murdered more than 2,700 people in an attack on New York City. Thousands died when a hijacked Boeing 767 slammed into Tower One of the World Trade Center. It was first blood. For Leslie Haskin, it was a second chance at life. This is the riveting account of Leslie's harrowing escape - down 36 floors in a doomed and dying building and away from a life focused on perks, prestige, and power. The intervening months brought crippling mental and emotional distress, but from the rubble and ashes, the corporate climber rediscovered the faith of her childhood and now embraces a new life of serving others.
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One is compelling, horrific, vividly told. It's the story of one woman's experience of being in the World Trade Centre on 9/11. It's dark, it's told in its completeness, it omits nothing. Leslie Haskin makes you feel as if you too were there, even though you don't want to be, among the disintegrating buildings and exploding flesh. She re-tells every second of her journey to work that day, the impact, and the endless journey down from the 35th floor to the ground. She tells it with total honesty, and plumbs the very depth of her being, and how her life changed forever.
The other is the story of Haskin's religious conversion, a direct result of what happened on that fateful day. For her, as a result of 9/11, her life not only changed completely but - in her perfect hindsight - was an inevitability. It's uncomfortable to live with, because on the one hand you feel that she is perfectly entitled to her conversion, having lived through something beyond even the nightmares of other people. But it often comes across as a sermon, and somehow seeks to remove the stain of 9/11 through one person's subsequent spiritual odyssey. Again, there's a discomfort here. It feels insulting to criticise, just as it would be to criticise a Jewish survivor of the Holocaust if they had written in similar vein.
However, she ends the book by translating her own spiritual journey to a generalisation about End-times and the Rapture, in which she believes. At this point most readers will breathe a sigh of relief, all discomfort flown, and see that what started as one kind of horror story, ends as a religious horror story.
If you listen only to the first two thirds of this book, it will be an unforgettable experience. If you listen to the whole thing, you will end in the church of your childhood, the one your parents may have taken to, and from which you couldn't get out fast enough.
Two additional notes. One: Haskin reads this with great emphasis, as if she is trying to convert you through the very way she speaks, like a preacher. It brings the first section of the book to life effectively, but it becomes tiresome when she moves into 'preacher' mode. Two: all the Biblical readings (and there are many!!) are read by a computer voice. Bizarre, or what?