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When Jeff Bauman woke up on 16 April 2013 in the Boston Medical Center, groggy from a series of lifesaving surgeries and missing his legs, the first thing he did was rip out his breathing tube to try to speak. When he realised he couldn't, he asked for a pad and paper and wrote down seven words- 'Saw the guy. Looked right at me,' setting off one of the biggest manhunts in the country's history.
Just thirty hours before, Jeff had been at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon cheering on his girlfriend when the first bomb went off at his feet. When his life was turned upside down, Jeff did not give up. Instead he faced his new circumstances with grace, humour and a sense of purpose- he was determined, no matter what, to walk again.
In Stronger, Jeff describes the chaos and terror of the bombing itself and the ongoing FBI investigation in which he was a key witness. He takes us inside his gruelling rehabilitation, and discusses his attempt to reconcile the world's admiration with his own guilt and frustration.
Brave, compassionate and emotionally compelling, Jeff Bauman's story shows what strength really means.
Jeff Bauman (Author)
Jeff Bauman is 'Boston through and through'. Before the bombing, the 27-year-old was living with his mother in the working-class suburb of Boston where he grew up. He was working at Costco, where he'd been employed for nine years, had dropped out of college, and spent a lot of time hanging out with friends and playing guitar.
Jeff was planning to move out soon with his girlfriend, Erin, who worked at the local hospital and was intending to go to graduate school. She was training for her first race - the Boston Marathon - with a group raising money for charity.
Jeff now lives with his mum and Erin, who have both taken time off from work to care for him. He is waiting to move into a house with Erin, one that is being built for his special needs, with some of the funds coming from a trust set up for the victims of the bombing.
Bret Witter is a six-time New York Times bestselling co-author who specialises in contemporary stories of triumph over tragedy (Dewey, Until Tuesday and Until I Say Goodbye).