After the Fire

Author: Robin Gaby Fisher
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
Genre: Inspiration
ISBN: 978-0-316-06621-1
Pages: 224
Price: $24.99

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On January 19, 2000, a tragic fire raged through one of Seton Hall University’s dormitories, killing three students and seriously injuring many others. Two of the students critically burned were roommates Alvaro Llanos and Shawn Simons. After the Fire shares their story, as they attempt to recover and rebuild their lives.

What starts out as a senseless tragedy quickly turns into a story of hope. Shawn Simons is badly burned, but his strong will to survive carries him quickly through his rehabilitation with determination. But Alvaro Llanos is in much worse condition, and his life is threatened by his severe injuries. Despite the fact Shawn has only known Alvaro a few short months, he is deeply concerned about his roommate, and vows to be there for him during his recovery.

Dealing with scars, pain and disfiguration is difficult, as is not knowing who or what caused the fire in the first place. Family members are supportive, but at times suffocating in their deep love for their sons. And budding romance is tested by the trials these young men face. But they are fortunate to be cared for by one of the best burn units in the country directed by Hani Mansour at Saint Barnabas Hospital.

Author Robin Gaby Fisher invites us to get to know these courageous young men, as she shares their thoughts, their pain, and their deep devotion to each other. She writes with compassion and the depth of feeling that only comes from full empathy with what they both went through. Most of all, she inspires us with the faith and hope Shawn Simons and Alvaro Llanos embody as they gratefully embrace the life they’ve been blessed with.

Reviewer: Alice Berger