Review: Love is the Higher Law

First there is a Before, and then there is an After. . .

The lives of three teens—Claire, Jasper, and Peter—are altered forever on September 11, 2001. Claire, a high school junior, has to get to her younger brother in his classroom. Jasper, a college sophomore from Brooklyn, wakes to his parents’ frantic calls from Korea, wondering if he’s okay. Peter, a classmate of Claire’s, has to make his way back to school as everything happens around him.

Here are three teens whose intertwining lives are reshaped by this catastrophic event. As each gets to know the other, their moments become wound around each other’s in a way that leads to new understandings, new friendships, and new levels of awareness for the world around them and the people close by.–From Goodreads

After 9/11, I was highly skeptical of most books and poetry that attempted to deal with the subject. I recognized the need to deal with a tremendously emotional and politically charged event, but I also feel like some things require a bit of distance to write about well. David Levithan’s Love is the Higher Law was published in 2009, but reading it brought me right back to the day that I woke up to a plane crashing into the World Trade Center. 9/11 is a day that everyone in my generation will remember. I know exactly where I was when the planes hit, I can visualize nearly every minute of the day in my mind, a perfect example of flashbulb memory that is common for events with such significance.

This book deals with three teens’ experiences after September 11th more than the tragedy of the event itself. Levithan’s book reminded me of the post-9/11, spirit when people came together, and there was an elevated sense of being an American. Despite everyone’s differences, we were attacked together, and we came together to show that terrorism could not defeat us. I think that this was quickly forgotten as partisan politics came back into play and life as usual continued for most people, but I enjoyed this book’s reminder that there is a common law that binds us all.

Quotable Quote from Love is the Higher Law

“I want to have faith in strangers. I want to have faith in what we’re all going to do next. But I’m worried. I see things shifting from United We Stand to God Bless America. I don’t believe in God Bless America. I don’t believe a higher power is standing beside us and guiding us. I don’t believe we’re being singled out. I believe much more in United We Stand. I have my doubts, but I want it to be true. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we really came together, if we really found a common humanity? The hitch is that you can’t find a common humanity just because you have a common enemy. You have to find a common humanity because you believe that’s true.”


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