What Stands in a Storm? Three Days in the Worst Superstorm to Hit the South’s Tornado Alley
Author: Kim Cross
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ½
Narrator: Tracy Brunjes
Run Time: 9hrs, 46min
Narration Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
April 27, 2011, marked the climax of a superstorm that saw a record 358 tornadoes rip through twenty-one states in three days, seven hours, and eighteen minutes. It was the deadliest day of the biggest tornado outbreak in recorded history, which saw 348 people killed, entire neighborhoods erased, and $11 billion in damage. The biggest of the tornadoes left scars across the lan so wide they could be seen from space. But from the terrible destruction emerged everyday heroes, neighbors and strangers who rescued each other from hell on earth.
Ashley Harrison, Danielle Downs, and William Stevens are just three of the victims of the tornados that hit Alabama in 2011 – all three were college students at the University of Alabama, who died when a tree fell on the house where they were taking shelter during the storm. They are three names that are imprinted on my memory after listening to What Stands in a Storm? But over 300 people died during the storm and the author, Kim Cross gave homage to all of them through her telling of these three days – it was poignant and moving – I even ended up tearing up a few times. What Stands in a Storm was told through the eyes of the people who both survived the storm and those who perished in it – through text messages, voicemails, facebook posts; from interviews with family and friends. These memories formed the basis for a narrative that struck fear into me – I felt like I was watching the storm bear down on me – not knowing what was coming next – just waiting for it to hit.
I often find that non-fiction leaves me feeling rather detached because of how its written, but What Stands in the Storm? wasn’t like that. I was tearing up while listening to it – in fact, I had to pull over the car a few times to wipe tears away. I can remember the last book that did that to me – it was one about the Canadian Army and deaths in Afghanistan. I attribute these emotions not only to the writing style of the author, but also the narration of Tracy Brunjes. She is a new to me narrator – and from taking a quick peak at her name on audible, only had 4 books to her name. Unfortunately, while I would like to listen to more by her, those other books aren’t really my thing – but i’ll definitely be keeping my eye out for other stuff in the future.
What Stands in a Storm? is a book that will stick with me and is well deserving of the 4.5 star rating that I gave it.