With the ten year anniversary of 9/11 last year, there were many new memoirs published by those affected on that day and in the decade since. The Woman Who Wasn't There: The True Story of an Incredible Deception by Gaby Robin Fisher and Angelo Guglielmo, Jr., was just published in April and chronicles a different story about 9/11.
Tania Head's account of the horrors she lived through on 9/11 made her the instant darling of the media. She told a harrowing story of losing her husband in the north tower, and then nearly dying herself in the south tower after catching fire and carrying her nearly detached arm down to ground level before she was eventually rescued and woke in a hospital days later. Head was a remarkable force in organzing the World Trade Center's Survivor Network, helping them gain recognition as a group, gaining them access to tour the site, and even to save the "Survivor's Stairway."
Although there were some holes in Tania's story, such as the fact that she referred to her husband Dave as her fiance from time to time, people were instantly taken by her story and the way she was able to go on with her life.
Several years later Tania's story begins to unravel and questions arise about who Tania Head really was. She never divulged Dave's last name. No one had ever met his parents. The dog she supposedly owned had never been seen by her 9/11 friends. The one person who had questioned something about Tania's story at one time had been cut out of the Survivor's group entirely.
Head's deception is amazing and sad. The survivors who struggled to get through each day still mourn the loss of their friend, despite the fact that Tania Head, World Trade Center survivor does not exist and never did.
By simply reading the title of this book I knew Tania Head's story was not true. However, it was hard not to appreciate what she was doing for the survivors. The entire time I read I wondered (and probably always will) what caused Head to decide to deceive so many others - a group so vulnerable and hurting themselves. Although this was a sad story - both for the survivors and about Head- it was a fascinating look at one woman's motives and desire to be a part of this horrible human tragedy.