Picks and Pans Review: A Widow's Walk

updated 09/26/2005 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/26/2005 AT 01:00 AM EDT

By Marian Fontana
MEMOIR

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Marian Fontana might appreciate the tragic irony that it was the death of her husband, a fire-fighter, that allowed her to show her strength as a storyteller. A comedienne and playwright, she brings a screenwriter's sensibility to her account of the year that follows Sept. 11, 2001—a day when she felt "the ventricles of [her] heart start to pulse, popping and ripping, exploding in [her] chest" as she watched the World Trade Center's South Tower collapse with her husband, Dave, inside. The author's passionate, irreverent persona comes through on every page: She recounts her work lobbying the city on behalf of firemen's families, but she also deflates hypocrites, calls the bluff of a teacher who ignores her grieving son, smokes too much and cracks jokes about a tacky memorial service. Her book has the addictive appeal of a smartly paced novel, and readers will close it wanting more.

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