Book Review: Tornado Warning by Tamara Hart Heiner

18966081Title: Tornado Warning

Author: Tamara Hart Heiner

Genre: Nonfiction

Publication date: May 2014

Description (from Goodreads):

The true story about seven ordinary women and one extraordinary event… 

Spring is on the brink of turning into summer, and the residents in Joplin, Missouri, anticipate the rush of freedom and activities that will follow: graduation, summer classes, vacations, overflowing gardens, family time, and plenty of photo opportunities. 

What they don’t anticipate is the mile-wide tornado that will devastate the town on May 22, 2011, in the middle of dinner preparations, visits to friends and family, and graduation ceremonies. The tornado kills over a hundred people in the deadliest tornado disaster in a century and leaves thousands more homeless. In the face of this tragedy, seven women must gather their courage and hold their families together. Each make different choices to protect their loved ones and strangers as Joplin recovers from the winds of destruction.


My first thought when Tamara contacted me was, “Not another tornado book,” but I’m glad I read this one.  I did put off reading it for a while because of the emotions I knew it would bring back after living through the aftermath of the Joplin tornado. It is the story of seven women and their families who went through the Joplin tornado. What is unique about this book is that it’s written like fiction.

I like the way Tornado Warning was set up as far as following a timeline and explaining what was going on with each family at that time rather than having seven separate stories. It did make it a little more difficult to follow at first because I’m not good at remembering names so I had to go back a couple times to remind myself who people were, but I think it’s the best way to tell the stories.

These are just a few of so many stories but it’s a good reminder to us of what went on that day. May 22, 2011, changed the lives of thousands of people including the members of my family. I think it’s also good timing because I know, personally, that I wouldn’t have been ready to read these stories even a year ago.

I received a review copy of Tornado Warning and the author told me that it went through another edit before it went to print. There were several errors that only those familiar with Joplin would notice and I’m hoping those were fixed. But even if they weren’t fixed I would recommend this book.

Book signing:

Tamara Hart Heiner is going to be at my store Saturday, May 17, from 1:30 to 3:30 for a book signing! If you’re in the Joplin area, come by and meet her at Sleepygirl’s, 516 N. Main.