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Love You, Mean It: A True Story of Love, Loss, and Friendship    by Patricia Carrington & et al order for
Love You, Mean It
by Patricia Carrington
Order:  USA  Can
Hyperion, 2006 (2006)
* * *   Reviewed by Melissa Parcel

What can you do when life as you know it is shattered in an instant? How can you deal with the devastating loss of a beloved husband when the whole country is dealing with its own loss? Pattie Carrington, Julia Collins, Claudia Gerbasi, and Ann Haynes share similar tragedies - their husbands were all killed in the World Trade Center attacks on September 11, 2001. The four women came together a few months later to form a group that they later named The Widow's Club or the WC. This common ground allowed the women to be real, to share their feelings with each other in a way that others - try as they might - just couldn't understand or relate to.

Love You, Mean It is a memoir, written from the viewpoints of each of the four women, as well as the group as a whole. Readers learn about each woman's life before she met her husband, their courtship, and their marriage. We experience a glimpse of their lives on September 11, and the aftereffects of their loss on themselves, their friends, and family. It is heart-wrenching, moving, poignant, and authentically told. I spent a great deal of the time reading this book in tears, but not all from sadness. My heart ached for these women and their experiences, but I also got a true sense of joy in their descriptions of their husbands and the impact these men had on the lives of those around them.

Although Love You, Mean It focuses on losses from 9/11, its overall theme - of loss, young widowhood, and the grieving process - transcends the incident and is relevant to anyone experiencing the sudden death of someone close to them. The friendship formed by the WC is amazing and intense. Their unwavering support for each other - but also their willingness to confront tough issues head on - makes their bond strong. The memoir is as much about friendship as it is about loss, and readers will get a true sense of the intimate connection these women share. Love You, Mean It is a wonderful book. Though not always easy to read, its message is overwhelmingly worth the expended emotion.

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