"4:09 to 9:02" Boston To Oklahoma and New York Cities

Beyond the Bombings

Non-Fiction - Autobiography
162 Pages
Reviewed on 11/18/2022
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Adanna Ora for Readers' Favorite

Life seemed normal until tragedy hit Oklahoma City on the 19th day of April 1995.  No less than 168 people, including 15 babies in daycare, were killed in an explosion. It was a total mess, made worse by the fact that David and Gloria Hamel had commitments in both the neighboring and aforementioned buildings. They experienced effects from the event that they could not have predicted. In memory of the victims of the catastrophes in Boston and Oklahoma, David Hamel created the book "4:09 to 9:02" Boston to Oklahoma and New York Cities: Beyond the Bombings. In this account of his life, he also discusses the difficulties he encountered with infertility in his marriage, his job as an air force commander, and as a marathon runner. His relationship with children is also revealed, along with photographic evidence of his adventures.

The use of images in David Hamel's work is what initially drew me to it. In essence, the author has a photo of each significant event in his life! This adds excitement to the story since you know there will be a visual to support the author's claim. I took a lot of valuable lessons about endurance, passion, compassion, trust, and love from this book. The author emphasizes that even terrible experiences can lead to positive outcomes. To inspire us, the author also takes nuggets and life lessons from Bible verses. Additionally, David seems to interpret the author's allusion to teddy bears in a quite different way. You’d have to read "4:09 to 9:02" Boston to Oklahoma and New York Cities: Beyond the Bombings to find out more! Great work from David Hamel.

Essien Asian

Having experienced both the Oklahoma City and the Boston bombings on a personal level, David Hamel recounts how those two pivotal events shaped his desire to compete in the Boston City Marathon. His successful qualification after twenty-three years of trying opened a floodgate of memories associated with those events and the aftermath. A series of unsuccessful attempts at having a child with his wife, helping his long-lost brother find his way in a battle with mental illness, and the important roles of a couple of cute cuddly teddy bears feature in this journey of self-discovery. "4.09 To 9.02" Boston To Oklahoma and New York Cities: Beyond the Bombings is his story.

"4.09 To 9.02" Boston To Oklahoma and New York Cities is a touching personal account. David Hamel provides a thorough backstory in his book. For those who may not be familiar with the bombings, there are some personal details that only a survivor can recount. His story is smooth and easy to follow. Despite the heavy emotion that pervades the book, it radiates an underlying message of hope to readers. This had its effects on me as well. His ability to connect the dots between the struggles, both in his marriages and his military career, to his running experiences is uncanny, if not impressive. The inclusion of his photo collection of milestones throughout his journey brings his story home. This is an honest inspirational book that anyone struggling with overcoming obstacles should read. Credit must go to Hamel for having the courage to pen this emotional account.

Sheena Monnin

"4:09 to 9:02" Boston To Oklahoma and New York Cities: Beyond the Bombings by David Hamel is a touching true story about his evolution as a marathon runner and how personal life events along with tragic public events shaped the course of his life. The author starts the story by recounting the horrible bombings at the Boston Marathon in 2013 and the Oklahoma Marathon in 1995. Each event touched his life. He was a serial marathon runner and had become deeply embedded in the running community, making friends and building memories. The events that took place during those two marathons inspired him to look back over his own life and share his journey as a military professional, a husband, and a father figure. Each part of the story is deeply authentic and emotionally honest, allowing the reader to get deep inside the author’s mind and see the events as he saw them.

"4:09 to 9:02" Boston To Oklahoma and New York Cities by David Hamel is a riveting look at one man’s life and how his journey impacted the lives of countless people around him. He exemplifies what it takes to live honestly, openly, and with passion for his work, his hobbies, and those he loves. David tells the reader about his introduction to long-distance marathon running and how the hobby stayed with him for decades, influencing many parts of his life. I appreciated how he let the reader know of his early relationship complications as well as meeting and marrying the love of his life, Gloria, and how their support of each other allowed them to make it through challenging times. He seems like a delightful man and I was so happy to see his life turn out full of joy and meaning! Readers will be inspired and uplifted by this book. It is a triumph of storytelling that can be enjoyed by marathon enthusiasts as well as novice runners.

Alex Ndirangu

What doesn't kill you can strengthen you. While reading "4:09 to 9:02" Boston To Oklahoma and New York Cities by David Hamel, this was the main idea that came to mind. On April 19, 1995, terrorists struck Oklahoma City, and among the dead were fifteen newborns from a nearby daycare. The aftermath leaves everyone in the city with a profound sense of loss, sorrow, and melancholy. David Hamel and his wife, Gloria, are also Oklahoma residents who, amid all the sadness, have been battling personal heartbreak following numerous failed attempts to have a child. David, a retired sergeant in the Air Force, has served on active duty for more than 30 years and has run more than 100 marathons. By sheer chance, this newlywed pair escaped the bombing. Less than 24 hours before the explosion, they had parked near the explosives-filled rental truck on the same roadway! Follow this former sergeant and his wife as he navigates you through how they were able to move past their horrific and depressing pasts.

My heartfelt gratitude and appreciation go to the author for choosing to share his life experience. He shared many photos with us, including the one that depicted him next to the daycare. I liked the image of David climbing the four Newton hills. We can also find a picture of him rejoicing at the magnificent finish line. I felt such great admiration when I saw him finish the race that I even considered joining the marathon team here in my country. This aspect of the book has made me more interested in the author and his wife. I especially anticipated that I would see him with his wife Gloria, and I was glad when I finally saw her in a beautiful picture with David on their wedding day. I applaud the author for using the first person as the primary narration style. This book's unique contents are best experienced directly, as firsthand experience resonates with the reader. I found that having a real-time update of every action and the subsequent action in the book made it easier to understand the development. There's nothing I don't like about "4:09 to 9:02" Boston to Oklahoma City and New York Cities, and I'm confident in stating that David Hamel did an excellent job.

Maria Victoria Beltran

"4:09 to 9:02" Boston To Oklahoma and New York Cities: Beyond the Bombings by David Hamel is an emotional memoir dedicated to the victims and survivors of the 1995 Oklahoma City, 2001 New York City, and 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. A veteran marathon runner, the author is inspired by Hal Higdon's book 4:09:43 to finally come up with this book that chronicles his reaction to the terrorist bombings in the US. When the Oklahoma City bombing occurred at 9:02 am in April 1995, David and his wife Gloria were at a nearby center undergoing fertility treatments. Losing their unborn child and the deaths of 15 children in a daycare center nearby profoundly affected the couple. Determined to reclaim the Boston and Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon finish lines in 2014 and 2016, this is the author's journey.

David Hamel's "4:09 to 9:02" Boston To Oklahoma and New York Cities is a fascinating read. The story unravels during the deadliest act of homegrown terrorism in US history, the Oklahoma City bombing, and continues against the backdrop of the terrorist attacks in the twin towers of New York and the Boston Marathon bombings. The book is narrated in the first person point of view, and the author's literary style is conversational and engaging. This creates a rapport with his readers as he shares his personal story directly with them. We get to see, hear and feel everything the narrator does, making it a relatable read. His determination to reclaim the Boston and Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon finish lines is admirable. This book should inspire us that terrorism will not succeed if we all do what we can to stand up to it.