Gabby: A Story of Courage, Love and Resilience

Gabby: A Story of Courage, Love and Resilience

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Overview

Now in paperback with a bonus new chapter, the New York Times bestseller by Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly—an incredibly inspiring story of adventure, service, love, and overcoming tragedy.

Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly’s story is a reminder of the power of true grit, the patience needed to navigate unimaginable obstacles, and the transcendence of love. Their arrival in the world spotlight came under the worst of circumstances. On January 8, 2011, while meeting with her constituents in Tucson, Arizona, Gabby was the victim of an assassination attempt that left six people dead and thirteen wounded. Gabby was shot in the head; doctors called her survival “miraculous.”

As the nation grieved and sought to understand the attack, Gabby remained in private, focused on her againstall- odds recovery. Intimate, inspiring, and unforgettably moving, Gabby provides an unflinching look at the overwhelming challenges of brain injury, the painstaking process of learning to communicate again, and the responsibilities that fall to a loving spouse who wants the best possible treatment for his wife. Told in Mark’s voice and from Gabby’s heart, the book also chronicles the lives that brought these two extraordinary people together—their humor, their ambitions, their sense of duty, their longdistance marriage, and their desire for family.

A new, moving final chapter brings Gabby’s story up to date, including the state of her health and her announcement that she would leave the House of Representatives.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781451661071
Publisher: Scribner
Publication date: 10/09/2012
Pages: 319
Sales rank: 482,844
Product dimensions: 5.66(w) x 8.24(h) x 0.82(d)

About the Author

Gabrielle Giffords represented Arizona’s 8th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2007 until 2012. A graduate of Scripps College, she has a Masters degree from Cornell University. She was a Fulbright Scholar in Mexico and a fellow at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Mark Kelly was a Captain in the United States Navy when he commanded the final mission of Space Shuttle Endeavour in May of 2011. A veteran of four space flights to the International Space Station he is a graduate of the United States Merchant Marine Academy and holds a masters degree from the U.S. Naval Post Graduate School. Jeffrey Zaslow (1958-2012) was most recently the author of The Magic Room. His other books include The Girl from Ames and, as coauthor of The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch.

Read an Excerpt

The Beach

I used to be able to tell just what my wife, Gabby, was thinking.

I could sense it in her body language—the way she leaned forward when she was intrigued by someone and wanted to soak up every word being said; the way she nodded politely when listening to some know-it-all who had the floor; the way she’d look at me, eyes sparkling, with that full-on smile of hers, when she wanted me to know she loved me. She was a woman who lived in the moment—every moment.

Gabby was a talker, too. She was so animated, using her hands as punctuation marks, and she’d speak with passion, clarity, and good humor, which made her someone you wanted to listen to. Usually, I didn’t have to ask or wonder what she was thinking. She’d articulate every detail. Words mattered to her, whether she was speaking about immigration on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, or whether she was alone with me, talking about her yearning to have a child.

Gabby doesn’t have all those words at her command anymore, at least not yet. A brain injury like hers is a kind of hurricane, blowing away some words and phrases, and leaving others almost within reach, but buried deep, under debris or in a different place. “It’s awful,” Gabby will say, and I have to agree with her.

But here’s the thing: While Gabby struggles for words, coping with a constant frustration that the rest of us can’t fathom, I still know what she’s thinking much of the time. Yes, her words come haltingly or imperfectly or not at all, but I can still read her body language. I still know the nuances of that special smile of hers. She’s still contagiously animated and usually upbeat, using her one good hand for emphasis.

And she still knows what I’m thinking, too.

There’s a moment that Gabby and I are going to hold on to, a moment that speaks to our new life together and the way we remain connected. It was in late April 2011, not quite four months after Gabby was shot in the head by a would-be assassin. As an astronaut, I had just

spent five days in quarantine, awaiting the last launch of space shuttle Endeavour, which I’d be commanding. It was around noon on the day before the scheduled liftoff, and my five crew members and I had been given permission to see our spouses for a couple of hours, one

last time.

We’d be meeting with our wives on the back deck of this old, rundown two-story Florida beach house that NASA has maintained for decades. It is on the grounds of the Kennedy Space Center, and there’s even a sign at the dirt road leading to it that simply says “The Beach House.” The house used to have a bed that astronauts and their significant others would use for unofficial “romantic reunions.” Now it’s just a meeting place for NASA managers, and by tradition, a gathering spot where spouses say their farewells to departing astronauts, hoping they’ll see them again. Twice in the space shuttle’s thirty-year history, crews did not make it home from their missions. And so after a meal and some socializing as a group, couples usually break away and take private walks down the desolate beach, hand in hand.

The 2,000-square-foot house is the only structure on the oceanfront for more than twenty-five miles, since NASA controls a huge chunk of Florida’s “space coast.” Look in any direction and there’s nothing but sand, seagulls, an occasional sea turtle, and the Atlantic Ocean. It’s Florida pretty much the way it was centuries ago.

On our previous visit to this spot, the day before my shuttle mission in May 2008, Gabby and I were newlyweds, sitting in the sand, chatting about the mission, her upcoming election, and our future together. Gabby reminded me of how very “blessed” we both were; she often said that. She felt we needed to be very thankful for everything that we had. And we were.

The biggest problem on our minds was finding time to see each other, given our demanding careers in separate cities. It seemed complicated then, the jigsaw puzzle that was our lives, but in retrospect, it was so simple and easy. We couldn’t have imagined that we’d return for a launch three years later and everything would be so different.

This time, Gabby entered the beach house being pushed in a wheelchair, wearing a helmet to protect the side of her head where part of her skull was missing. It had been removed during the surgery that saved her life after she was shot.

While the others at the house had come in pairs (each astronaut with a spouse), Gabby and I showed up with this whole crazy entourage—her mother, her chief of staff, a nurse, three U.S. Capitol Police officers, three Kennedy Space Center security officers, and a NASA colleague assigned to look after Gabby for the duration of my mission. The support Gabby now needed was considerable, and certainly not what my fellow crew members expected in their final moments with their wives. Instead of an intimate goodbye on a secluded beach, this became quite the circus. It was a bit embarrassing, but the men on my crew and their spouses were 100 percent supportive.

They understood. Gabby had just logged sixteen arduous and painful weeks sequestered in a Tucson hospital and then a Houston rehab center. She had worked incredibly hard, struggling to retrain her brain and fight off depression over her circumstances. For her doctors and security detail to give their blessings and allow her to travel, this was how her coming-out needed to be handled.

My crewmates and their wives greeted Gabby warmly, and she smiled at all of them, and said hello, though it was clear she was unable to make real small-talk. Some words and most sentences were still beyond her. Everyone was positive, but everyone noticed.

As I watched Gabby try to navigate the social niceties, I was very proud of her. She had learned since her injury that it could sap her energy and her spirits to be self-conscious about her deficiencies or her appearance. So she had found ways to communicate by employing upbeat hand motions and that terrific smile of hers—the same smile that had helped her connect with constituents, woo political opponents, and get my attention. She didn’t need to rattle off sentences to charm a bunch of astronauts and their wives. She just had to tap into the person she’s always been.

*
• *

After we settled in at the beach house, I said to Gabby: “Want to go down to the ocean?”

“Yes,” she said. “Yes, swim in the ocean.”

Though Gabby grew up in Arizona, a daughter of the desert, she loves the ocean more than anyone I’ve ever known. She first saw the Pacific as a kid, traveling with her parents and sister through Mexico and Central America. They’d spend weeks at a time driving up and down the Pacific coast in a station wagon or camper. She loved to swim, to look for shells, to people-watch. Later, the Atlantic became equally alluring for her, including this stretch of beach, where we walked and swam together before my previous space flights. On those visits, Gabby had enjoyed swimming well offshore. And I admired how she engaged the other spouses so they all could shake off their nervousness over the risky missions ahead. She had just the right touch, embracing the duties that came with being the commander’s wife, while also being completely down-to-earth and making everyone feel welcome.

But this time, of course, she was dependent on the kindness of others.

Her nurse took her into the bathroom and got her into her swimsuit. Though it was a warm day, she needed sweatpants and a jacket, since her injury leaves her cold so much of the time. Gabby helped dress herself the best she could, using her left hand, but she was limited. (Because she was shot in the left side of her brain, which partially controls the right side of the body, her right hand remained mostly useless and still, an appendage on her lap.)

When Gabby got out of the bathroom, those assisting her helped her into a special chair that emergency medical crews use when they have to carry people down stairs or out of the wilderness. It took three of them to lug her in that chair through the sand, step by step, a hundred yards toward the ocean. It was low tide, which made for a longer walk. I knew exactly what Gabby was thinking on this awkward journey down from the beach house. She was thinking what I was thinking; how desperately we both longed for the life we used to have together.

When the chair reached the water’s edge, I thanked the men who carried Gabby for their efforts, and they lowered her to the ground. We unstrapped her, and after we helped her to her feet, she was able to navigate the hard, wet sand, taking a few steps, leading slowly with her left leg. That’s when our support team moved back on the beach, trying to keep a respectful distance so Gabby and I could be alone.

In the days immediately after Gabby was injured, I had considered stepping down as commander of this shuttle flight. I was unsure of whether I’d be able to focus completely on the mission, and didn’t know when Gabby would be leaving intensive care. But once she began improving and I returned to training, I found myself fantasizing about the possibility that Gabby would recover enough to join me on this beach on this day—the day before liftoff. That became a goal of ours. Now here we were.

It turned out to be a pretty amazing moment, a gift of serenity at a time when both of us were caught in the brightest of spotlights. The day before, millions of TV viewers had watched grainy, unauthorized footage of Gabby walking slowly and deliberately up a tarmac staircase and onto a plane in Houston to fly here for the launch. It had been taken by a cameraman in a distant, hovering news helicopter. Meanwhile, within twenty-four hours, 700,000 people were expected to descend on central Florida’s east coast to see me and my crew blast off in the space shuttle. And yet, here at the water’s edge, all of that attention felt very far away.

Gabby and I were focused only on each other, an intimacy heightened by all we’d been through, and by this isolated spot on the planet. Except for my crewmates and their wives walking a ways down the beach, stick figures in the distance, there was no sign of humanity to the south, the north, or off into the horizon. If we ignored our support team on the sand behind us, it felt like it was just the two of us. So neither of us turned around to look.

Inch by inch, I helped Gabby walk a dozen steps into the water, which splashed midway up our thighs. Given that hole in her skull, a fall could be deadly, so I remained alongside her, holding her arm and her waist, balancing her. I was being vigilant, but it was also nice to be so close to her.

Though the water was warm, an almost perfect 75 degrees, it was at first too cold for Gabby. Still, with the splash of each wave, she moved forward, determined to regain some small part of her former life.

What happened next was almost magical. As Gabby gazed out across the Atlantic with wide eyes and this huge, happy grin, I felt almost mesmerized just looking at her face. And that’s when it hit me: For the first time since the shooting, Gabby looked absolutely joyous.

“Awesome!” she said. “Awesome.”

The water started feeling warmer to her. The sky was clear and very blue. “You really love this, don’t you, Gabby?” I said to her.

“Yes, yes,” she answered. It almost brought a tear to my eye, seeing her so happy.

Gabby sat in her chair with her feet in the water. I sat in a chair next to her.

“You know what would be great?” I said. “In the future, we ought to buy a small house near the ocean, so you can swim.”

“Yes,” she said. “Great!”

“Maybe we’ll get a little fishing boat. Or a sailboat. Maybe on a lagoon, somewhere where the water is warm.”

“Yes!”

It felt good to tell her this, to talk about a plan that had nothing to do with a medical treatment or physical rehab or speech therapy.

“Waves,” Gabby said. “Ocean!”

She then became quiet, preferring the soft sound of the waves to her halting voice.

I studied her face, which was luminous. In a lot of ways, she still looked like the beautiful, vivacious woman I’d fallen in love with. But there were differences. Her head was misshapen because of the missing piece of skull and the collection of excess cerebral-spinal fluid. She no longer had that full blond mane familiar to so many people from photos taken before she was shot. Her hair, which had been shaved for surgery, was very short, and had grown back in her natural dark-brown color. And she now had a full set of scars: one on her neck from her tracheotomy, one on the left side of her forehead, marking the spot where the bullet entered her brain, one over her right eye, which was also damaged in the attack, and a set of scars toward the top of her head that allowed her neurosurgeons the access they needed to save her life. Though she used to wear contact lenses, she now had to wear glasses. Because of her injuries, she’d lost about 50 percent of her vision in both eyes.

I took it all in. “You look great, Gabby,” I said. And she did. Despite everything.

Gabby smiled at me. She knows I’m a sucker for that smile of hers. Then she looked back out toward the horizon and her smile widened as the waves lapped against her feet.

I knew what she was thinking: That in this brief moment, it felt as if everything was almost back to normal. That maybe, someday, she’d be whole again.

Table of Contents

1 The Beach 1

2 A New Year 9

3 The Things We Have in Common 27

4 "Tomorrow" 43

5 A Family of Risk-Takers 57

6 "Fly Away Home" 71

7 Big Dreams 87

8 Baby Steps 105

9 With This Ring 119

10 The Ace of Spades 129

11 Second Chances 141

12 Higher Callings 151

13 "I Wonder What Happened" 165

14 Tucson 173

15 Sunrise 181

16 What Would Gabby Want? 197

17 The Parameters of a Miracle 209

18 STS-134 223

19 From a Distance 239

20 Great Signs of Progress 257

21 Inch by Inch 273

22 Back to Work 289

23 Gabby's Voice 299

24 The Journey Ahead 301

Acknowledgments 311

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Gabby: A Story of Courage, Love, and Resilience includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


Introduction

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and astronaut Mark Kelly found in each other a steadfast commitment to public service, a deep curiosity about the world around them, and a shared passion for adventure. At their wedding in 2007, Robert Reich toasted “to a bride who moves at a velocity that exceeds that of anyone else in Washington, and to a groom who moves at a velocity that exceeds seventeen thousand miles per hour.” On January 8, 2011, Gabby survived a horrific shooting that left six people dead and thirteen wounded at a Congress on Your Corner event in Tucson, Arizona. Her life and Mark’s were changed forever.

Gabby: A Story of Courage, Love, and Resilience takes readers into the lives of this extraordinary couple—the influences that molded their passions in childhood, their professional triumphs, their family and friendships, and their marriage. Anchoring the book is the profoundly inspiring story of Gabby’s recovery, a testament to enduring love, courage, and hope.

Topics & Questions for Discussion

1. Doctors, nurses, therapists, friends, colleagues, family—seemingly the whole nation—rallied to the cause of Gabby’s recovery. Why do you think Gabby’s recovery became a cause that brought different kinds of people together?

2. After witnessing the Tucson shootings and Gabby’s medical progress through the filter of the media, what was it like to hear Mark and Gabby’s side of the story? What surprised you?

3. Gabby loved the mission of her alma mater Scripps College, written by Ellen Browning Scripps, which stated that the school aimed to develop in students “the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously and hopefully” (p. 78). In what ways does Gabby exemplify this mission statement?

4. Mark writes that, at thirty, Gabby was finally prepared to run for elected office: “She was now the candidate Gabrielle Giffords and she was ready to serve” (p. 86). What do you think makes someone “ready to serve”? What life experiences and personal qualities seem to influence Gabby’s identity as a politician?

5. How did Mark’s training as an astronaut help him navigate Gabby’s recovery process? What facets of Gabby’s recovery were initially unfamiliar to Mark? Have you ever been placed in a caretaker position?

6. Mark says that being an astronaut is like picking one card out of a deck: “Imagine that I offered you a million dollars if you pick any of the fifty-two cards except the ace of spades . . . But the deal would be: If you pick the ace of spades, you’d lose your life” (p. 132). Would you risk your life for the opportunity to travel to space? Do you consider yourself a risk-taker? Reflect on the biggest risk you have ever taken in your personal life. What was the outcome?

7. Mark writes, “I know the magnitude of what it means to use destructive force against people . . . Much of it is beyond senseless, like the gunman’s rampage in Tucson. But even violence with a purpose—including my missions in the skies over Iraq—requires solemn reflection” (pp. 99–100). Do you agree with Mark’s statement? Compare and contrast the violence of war with the Tucson shooting.

8. Gabby’s recovery is ongoing, but the progress she has made so far is nothing short of miraculous. Through media coverage of her experience, many of us learned for the first time about the incredibly slow and arduous work involved in overcoming brain trauma and the number of people involved—from surgeons to speech therapists to dedicated family. Do you know or know of people who have suffered this kind of injury? Do you have more appreciation of the medical and therapeutic communities having read this book?

9. Mark describes Gabby’s discomfort with the increasingly violent rhetoric in politics in the years and months leading up to the shooting. In the 2010 race for Gabby’s seat, Gabby’s opponent Jesse Kelly invited supporters to pay fifty dollars to shoot an automatic M16, encouraged the shooters to “help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office,” and promised to “Get on Target for Victory in November” (pp. 154–55). Sarah Palin’s PAC website showed a map with a gun sight over Gabby’s district, and Palin tweeted: “Don’t Retreat, Instead—RELOAD!” (p. 153). What do you make of this rhetoric? Are statements like this harmless political bluster, or do you think they could have played a role in the Tucson shooting?

10. Reflect on the chapter of the book written in Gabby’s own words. What one word or phrase do you think best describes Gabby?

Enhance Your Book Club

1. Gabby and Mark have dedicated their lives to public service. Honor their commitments with your book club by picking a worthy cause and volunteer together for an afternoon. For inspiration and direction, consider the following issues that Gabby and Mark championed: environmentalism, supporting young women in politics, health care advocacy for war veterans, promoting science and exploration in education, immigration. If any other causes described in Gabby struck a chord with you and your book club, research how to get involved in your own community.

2. It’s one thing to read about Gabrielle’s progress in Gabby; it’s another thing to see how far she’s come. As Gabby wrote herself, “To understand something, you have to see it” (p. 158). Watch some of the online clips of Gabby and Mark’s interview with Diane Sawyer on a special edition of 20/20 and discuss your impressions and observations afterward. What aspects of Gabby’s recovery surprised you? What moments did you find particularly inspiring? How did the clips enhance your understanding of Gabby’s recovery? You can watch the entire interview online here: abc.go.com/watch/2020/SH559026/VD55153303/gabby-giffords—mark-kelly-courage-and-hope.

3. As Gabby’s doctors repeatedly explained to Mark, no two brain injuries are alike, and no two patients will recover in the same way. Visit the “Cognitive Skill of the Brain” section on the Brain Injury Association of Utah’s website at www.biau.org/what/what_cognitive.html, where you’ll find an interactive map of the human brain. Click on each section of the brain and read the descriptions with your book club members. Can you identify the areas in which Gabby was injured? How does this information enhance your understanding of the medical issues Gabby faced, and still faces, in her recovery?

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Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 83 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is such an inspirational story about two wonderful people who serve and served their country. It is terrific to hear how well Gabby is progressing. The book is so well written. I could not put it down until I reached the end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book twice. I found it to be so inspirational and the writing was so wonderful. As a person with many health issues and a progressive disease, it was an eye opener to see how these two brave people handled and fought their way through this tragic event. Their story will give others hope and courage. It is so appropriate for their story to be available during the holidays. Great gift for family and friends to read and share!
chalkdust423 More than 1 year ago
This book, by Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly with Jeffrey Zaslow, is a story of will power over adversity. It is the story of a woman who will tackle any problem: physical, emotional, social, and political, which stands in the way of her ability to reach her goals. It is the story of a man who helps his wife plot a way back to being the best she can be after a life threatening attack from a gun shot wound to her head. It is about family, friends, and care-givers coming together to offer support, love, care and nurturing. Ultimately it is a story about miracles. The miracle of love between a father and mother toward their daughter, a miracle of love between a husband and wife, a miracle of step-children having to grow up in a hurry to cope with the life threatening and possible loss of a step-mother with whom they never really bonded, a miracle that family, friends, and care givers who were able to work as a cohesive unit to bring Gabby back to what she is now, an individual who defines the word miracle! I couldn't put this book down. I would hope my family and loved ones, as well as care-givers, were as dedicated to my well being as Gabby's were to her in any life threatening situation.
BC13 More than 1 year ago
Be prepared to be inspired in your own life; a story of MORE than Hope and Courage! Words form a story of Gabby Gifford, but the journey of how far Ms. Gabby has come will be reflective of how very blessed you are in your life. Written as only Jeffery Zaslow can in making the words on a page transpire into an "I CAN" spirit.
Tusconian More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book about Gabby and Mark's upbringings, meeting and the way they have handled the challenges they've had during their marriage. She is nothing short of amazing. In a couple of places during dealings with NASA Mark comes off as the egotistical, hot shot fighter pilot not liking to be told no and quick to blame an underling but maybe that is the attitude that will stand him in good stead while helping Gabby toward a full recovery. He does point out all during the book the importance of having an advocate with you at all times in the hospital to fight for you when you can't and that's a great things.
Kars10 More than 1 year ago
Gabrielle Giffords, Mark Kelley and Jeffrey Zaslow have written an outstanding account of the events that took place on January 8th, 2011. This novel is very easy to read and keeps your interest from chapter to chapter. Gabrielle's determination to regain her life (back to normal) is outstanding! I enjoyed Mark's account of his Military History and Space Exploration, as well. Mark should write another book, just on his NASA training and experience. It would be a great read! Anyone that reads, this book, will come back with a different perspective on life and living from the exraordinary accounts of events in this book. This must have been a heart wrenching novel to write, but it will always be one of my favorite books!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I truly enjoyed reading about the journey Giffords and Kelly have been on this past year. They are brave, courageous, honorable, and I am so thankful they chose to serve their country.
bdouglas97 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love this - especially since I listened to it on CD. I loved the ending when Gabby was recorded. I also loved learning more about the intracacies of the NASA space program. (ie the personal side)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed Gabby and have added it to my personal library. It was well written, moving fluidly from Gabrielle's personal life to Mark's personal life, from an politician's life to a astronaut's life and ultimately to their lives together. I was moved by the love story prior to and following the shooting. I admire both Gabrielle and Mark for working so hard to regain what was lost and to maintain their own identities both prior to and following the shooting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Am I DJ or not?!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ru on or not why didnt you respond to me from marie
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love her! She is so brave
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed the story of her life and accident.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mark Kelly is Far From Perfect First of all, I applaud Gabrielle Giffords resolve and wish her continued progress in her recovery as well as her career. It would be great if, one day, she could write her memoir so we can learn about her incredible journey in her own words. As others have stated, it's misleading to list Gabrielle and Mark as authors of this book. It's really Mark's memoir, with Ms. Giffords contributing a few paragraphs. Unfortunately, in my opinion, Mark's behavior comes across as self-centered, selfish, and immature. After turning the last page, I'm not sure if I would classify him as a maverick, renegade, or a jerk. The first problem I had with Mark was how he described his wife's condition shortly after she was shot. He chose to describe her right arm as "...mostly useless." To me, another word such as, "immobile," would have been more tactful. I was surprised that some texts were not edited. For example, as Mark recalled the screening process for astronauts, he writes, "It didn't matter if you were in great health. They'd find some minor condition or something you didn't even know you had -- a heart murmur, imperfect vision, a missing kidney -- and they'd cross off your name." Huh? I also felt uneasy as Mark openly shared some of the pranks he's pulled, such as accepting a dare while training at the Merchant Marine Academy by sneaking aboard a Saudi Arabian ship and stealing their country flag. That was immature and very disrespectful. He also described a trip he took with Gabby to the Arizona/Mexico border to observe illegal immigrants crossing into the U.S. Mark boasted about how he waved to the immigrants and yelled, "Hola." Then he thought he was being cute by getting off his mule, crawling under the fence, and sneaking into Mexico as an illegal American immigrant. Then there was the time when Mark wanted to take Gabby and a few others on a tour of the launchpad at Kennedy Space Center, just prior to the launch of space shuttle Endeavor. The area is off-limits, but Mark gained access by telling the guard he would only drive along the perimeter. Mark disclosed that during that time, fuel is being loaded and deemed to be hazardous. Eventually, Mark was observed speeding and driving around the launchpad. When one of his managers called and admonished him, including excessive speeding on the road leading to the launch area, informing Mark that he was clocked at 75 in a 35 mph zone, he replied, "I was trying to go a hundred! I ran out of room." Mind you he was commander of the shuttle. Mark came across as selfish when he returned from his last shuttle. After being away for weeks (not counting the quarantine period), when Gabby was having cranioplasty surgery, Mark returned and missed his wife's 42nd birthday, opting to attend a party in London hosted by Richard Branson. Then he added a side trip to Monaco on Tillman Fertitta's "boat," which I assume was the 164-foot super yacht, The Boardwalk. I'm glad Gabby gave Mark hell upon his return. It was insightful reading details about Gabby's amazing recovery, but my impression throughout the book is that Mark is more concerned about his wife making a full recovery for his own benefit, as opposed to having empathy and compassion for Gabrielle.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What an awe inspiring account of such a traumatic incident. The book is more then just the accounts of a horrible day in Arizona history, but also a very beautiful love story. I would recommend it very highly to be at the top of a must read
Cheritol More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderfully written book about Gabby's commitment to serving the people of Arizona, her work ethic, and her ability to connect with poeple accross party lines, and Marks commitment to their marriage, her reabilitation, and his work at the space program. This book is a source of inspiration for anyone dealing with a life threatening situation.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a very good, compelling book., worth reading more than once.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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