Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Aviator's Wife

Book Review

The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin.

I picked up this book at the same time as several other books. And I started reading it early on.

But I couldn't keep up the pace. Three weeks flew by, my time was up, and I couldn't renew it.

So, I had to take it back to the library. But not before I made a note of what page I was on.

And then I was able to get again. Rather quickly. And I resumed reading.

And then life happened again, and back it went to the library. But not before I made a note of what page I was on. Again.

And I really was still interested in reading this book. Despite appearances to the contrary.

I was keenly interested. I've always been around discussions of aviation. Old, new, concepts. Historical, contemporary, futuristic. And air shows. And even though I don't know much myself beyond the fact that the NASA astronauts train in T-38s and I can recognize the soft whine of VariEze ultralights in flight, I enjoy these discussions.

So naturally I would be interested in reading about the wife of the most famous aviator ever. Mrs. Charles Lindbergh.

Did you know she was an aviator too? With her own aviation records?

Got the book back again, I did. And finish it, I would!

The Aviator's Wife

Tenacity. I needed some tenacity to keep this book in my possession. But I did not need any tenacity to keep reading this book. 

This is historical fiction, told from the first person, in the most personal style. We get the first hand version of falling in love with the world's hero, immediately being forced to hide from the media frenzy,  and continually being challenged and pushed by such a driven person.

This is extremely well written. This is the perspective of a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister. A woman. Her view, her thoughts, her feelings, her perspective. Not his. Not the media's. This is a view, albeit fictional, from the inside out, rather than the other way around.

I suspect there will be many women who can identify with some of the feelings and joys and challenges depicted here, even without being a public figure. Well, without being "the woman who, along with her husband, was more hounded by the press than anyone in modern history, with the possible exception of Princess Diana." This feels "human." This feels real.

This book is not full of records of flight, but records of the heart. What happened, what didn't happen, what was joy, what was heartache.

It's too bad that such a well-written book has brought down a hero to mere human level for me. Not has much hero. Just human.

But that is just the reason I read historical fiction. Give me the facts in a presentable, readable way. And I learn from it.

Heroes are sometimes just men too. Even deeply flawed men.

This is a great way to learn more of the history behind the history!

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