A Room Full of Duct Tape


I’m not sure of the best word to describe Thursday’s reading at WORDS – but unreal and overwhelming keep coming to mind. The reading took place in the basement of our local bookstore (that makes it sound depressing – it’s not. It’s big and bright and lively). As I sat on stool waiting for the event to start, I watched people file down the stairs. Friends, family, neighbors, teachers, therapists. People who knew our family “before” (some even before we were a family). People who have only known us “after”. The chairs filled quickly, and before long I was sitting in front of a room filled with love. Over 125 people – yikes!


Here’s the thing – Smiles and Duct Tape isn’t just our family’s story, it belongs to a lot of people. People went to the event on Thursday not simply to support us, but because it’s their story too.

Because of this, I felt a certain responsibility. While the book is my perspective of what’s happened, I appreciate that people are reading and remembering and filling in their own memories. This added to my nerves on Thursday – this particular audience is very connected to our story and I wanted to make them proud. I had to keep reminding myself to breathe and take it all in. Remembering to appreciate what we have is how our family has survived. Looking into the crowd on Thursday, it was easy to see that one thing we have is the most incredible support a family could ever dream of.

It’s a bit of a blur and I am not sure of the details, but I do think I managed to get through the reading without too many tears or making a complete ass out of myself (or my family). Jack seemed to enjoy every minute. I kept seeing him out of the corner of my eye trying to stand up. Bright and full of smiles as he too could see “Team Torrey” filling the room in force.

Once I got through a short reading and sharing another small piece about why I wrote the book (I’ll post that next time), we went upstairs to sign books. We had a stamp which read “JACKO” so that Jack could help his mama and Dan and Anna helped greet everyone and thank them for their support. Once again, we all got to appreciate just who was there. One person after another who we love and adore.

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It was a room filled with our duct tape.

Thank you to everyone who came out on Thursday and those who have reached out since then.

Smiles and Duct Tape is a book about the worst 1000 days of our lives and Thursday made me feel like that chapter is really over.

Love, Jess


6 thoughts on “A Room Full of Duct Tape

  1. Hi, I’m sorry I missed the event. I truly wanted to support your family and apologize for not making it. I teach martial arts in the basement of the bookstore on Tuesdays for special needs students, Jonah’s son, Dan attends as well. I teach Jack at CPNJ in Livingston on Monday’s, just left him actually! He’s an amazing young man and is very much loved at the school too! Anyway, I will purchase the book because I would love to hear your story. Maybe someday I can get it autographed and stamped too! Enjoy… Paul


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