Captivating memoir helps author cope

By Erin Nollen
January 29, 2009

Every once in a while, a book will come along that will shock, yet deeply impact readers. “The Boy Who Fell From the Sky,” a memoir by Ken Dornstein, is a captivating and enthralling novel that retraces the lasting affects of one man’s tragic death.

Dornstein lost his older brother, David, in the tragic Pan Am Flight that crashed over Lockerbie, Scotland in December of 1988. Caused by a bomb planted by Libyan terrorists, the flight had 270 casualties, among them, Dorenstein’s older brother who was returning home to surprise his family for the holidays.

The book traces the life of Dorenstein, an aspiring writer, complete from his days at Brown University, to what he had for his final meal prior to boarding the fatal flight.

Most attention-grabbing about the book Dornstein has dedicated to his older brother, is his ability to weave throughout the work old documents and journals that were left by his brother.

When the flight crashed, Dornstein was a 19-year-old student at Brown, following in the footsteps of his brother. After grappling with his older brother’s death, the only was to cope was to devour anything left by his brother.

The result is a powerful book, “The Boy Who Fell From the Sky.” Throughout the book, readers become aware of the lasting affect the death of a sibling can produce. Almost painful to read at times, each page turn reveals sad, almost depressing details about the daily struggle the Dornstein family endures.

Through his work, Dornstein finally begins to cope with what happened to his brother, and is able to help his brother relive. David Dornstein is immortalized in the memoir; former teachers, classmates and former lovers all reveal facts about what an influential and commanding person David was.

The book appears as an attempt to resurrect an individual whose life may have been more than what it was at the time of death.

A novel about life, love and loss, “The Boy Who Fell From the Sky” is a satisfying book, yet at times, becomes almost too much to read. Dornstein becomes obsessed with the life of his brother and that obsession comes across very clearly in his writing. While it is impossible to not feel any sympathy for Dornstein and his family, the sympathy diminishes at times.

Without giving an insensitive judgment and review of the book, it is crucial to remember that every individual has, or will, deal with the loss of a close family member. Dornstein sometimes conveys the idea to readers that he is suffering more than others dealing with loss.

“The Boy Who Fell From the Sky” is a poignant reminder of the importance of family members and the impact of death. While at times the book and Dornstein can be a bit much, it is important to keep in mind that the memoir serves as a release for the author and is his way of coping with his older brother’s death.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Erin Nollen

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Special Project

Title IX Redefined Website

Produced by Cabrini Communication
Class of 2024

Listen Up

Season 2, Episode 3: Celebrating Cabrini and Digging into its Past


Scroll to Top
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap