Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.

When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review by Midwest Book Review:

ashes ashes

Ashes Ashes the Twins Fall Down: Twin Towers, 9/11

Pauline L. Hawkins

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN:9780578105307

“Ashes Ashes the Twins Fall Down: Twin Towers, 9/11” is a biography/autobiography written by Pauline L. Hawkins. While it was a quick read for me, it is the reflection of its premise that inspires me to review it the way I have chosen to do so.

To set the tone, dynamics and intent of her story, Hawkins begins with the diversity between two cataclysmic questions in our society, one commonly asked before 9/11: “Do you remember where you were when J.F.K. was shot?” and the one asked post 9/11: “Do you remember where you were when you heard about the attacks on 9/11?” By beginning with this analogy, she has solidified where she intends to navigate her book and immediately connects the reader with the premise and the connection with its title.
Once Hawkins sets her foundation, she ramps her account of how 9/11 affected (and changed) her life forever more going forward. Given this is an auto and biographical account, Hawkins is keen on asserting her emotions as to how the tragedy changed the course and direction of her life, beginning with her dilemma of how she will position the explanation to her then, nine-year-old son, Cody. She is also cognitive and aware of her audience and manages to impose factual accounts intermittently among personal experience.
As the story unfolds, she expresses her growth and understanding through her experience of the event by explaining the awareness and responsibility she imposed upon herself to become an informed American citizen after 9/11. She paints the dichotomy of her naïveté prior to and the necessity to reach beyond naïveté and become an informed citizen by paying attention to news accounts, enlightenment of governmental affairs and interactions, to name a few. She embarks upon a self-education mission, particularly with some of the congressional acts and practices that were put in place (i.e., the Patriot Act) in the aftermath. She devotes an entire chapter to not only the ten components that make up the ACT but also what they mean to her as an American citizen and how they affect her life. Cautious in the pontification of her personal opinion, there are subtle nuances exposed toward her personal discourse with some of the specifics. However, she does not burden the reader with endless, page-turning “ranting.”

For a first novel, “Ashes Ashes the Twins Fall Down: Twin Towers, 9/11,” I believe Pauline L. Hawkins has done a decent job of delivering her story. There is a certain element of healing comfort when she enlightens the reader toward the five facets of the grieving process and how she has managed to substantially address all but makes the confession of her own struggles still on certain levels. Perhaps this was part of the intended delivery. I also think she has done the reader justice by striking a genuine level of compassion through her word placement. However, it is difficult to know if this is the one book many will flock to on this particular subject. I believe the tragedy of 9/11 is a subject that is beyond challenging to write about (and capture the raw essence) through one set of circumstances (or opinions) in order to truly encapsulate the entire meaning. It has impacted the lives of every American in one way or another, particularly for those of us (including Ms. Hawkins) who have lived through it in order to share our experiences in its aftermath. I do stand firm on giving Ms. Hawkins props for taking on such a challenge. I think she made a strong appearance in sharing her perceptions and research.