Chasing Butterflies

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A book review of Chasing Butterflies: The True Story of a Daughter of 9/11 by Ashley Bisman

A book review of Chasing Butterflies: The True Story of a Daughter of 9/11 by Ashley Bisman

Stars: ****

Stone Tiger Books (2021)
284 pages

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This post contains affiliate links.

Summary: Ashley Bisman was in a high school history class the morning of September 11th when students whispered of planes crashing, fire, and terrorists. She bolted from her seat, sprinting through narrow school hallways leading to the main office. A television on the wall broadcast flames bursting from the skyscrapers, and her body went numb: her father worked on the 101st floor of Tower 1, and instinctively she knew she would never see him alive again. Jeff Goldflam was not found – the only surviving article discovered in the devastation was his credit card.

CHASING BUTTERFLIES, among the first published memoirs of a child of 9/11, is both Ashley’s love letter to her father and the story of how a teen, and then a young adult, struggled to retain what had been her “normal” life prior to the attacks. It also recounts Ashley’s fight to define herself, resisting society’s inclination to simply profile her as a World Trade Center victim. As a grown woman, Ashley searches for success and love in the very city where her father was killed. Her quest to find a meaningful relationship – dating faux pas, cocktails, and girls nights out – leads her downtown to the very place she swore to never step foot in again. Would it still be possible to create a life and legacy that would make her father proud?

A portion of the proceeds from reader purchases will be donated to Tuesday’s Children, a charitable organization serving families forever changed by terrorism, military conflict or mass violence.

Chasing Butterflies

“Where were you on 9/11?” was a question that everyone asked in the 2000s and I live in Canada. We can see the USA from my street corner but still, it’s not the same. I remember being scared that a plane would crash in a Canadian city too. I was a teenager when it happened, just like Ashley. The BIG difference though, is she lived in New York AND her father worked in the World Trade Center. She lost her father that day and her world changed forever.

This is the first book I’ve read about 9/11. I can’t believe it was 20 years ago! I could not imagine what it would be like to lose a parent in a terrorist attack. Ashley’s book helped me to understand it a little bit more. Of course it’s not the same thing but it helped me to think of the attacks from another point of view. The view of the family members of those who were killed.

The title of the book has to do with a popular song called Butterfly Kisses. I grew up listening to it too. It was Ashely’s favourite song as a girl and she had her dad play it for her Bat Mitzvah. She wanted to hear it on her wedding day while her dad walked her down the aisle but that was not to be. But don’t worry, there is a good ending to this book. Her dad is gone from this world but she managed to thrive and move on, with help from loved ones.

This was a really interesting, although sad, book. I think more people should read it and others like it if there are any. It’s one thing to see about 9/11 on the news. It’s another thing to hear about it from those who experienced it.

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About Kathleen

I've been a nonfiction lover for as long as I can remember. I love children's nonfiction as well and love to share my knowledge and the books I gained them from, with the world. I wish more people would give nonfiction a chance.