Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Fly Away Home by Jennifer Weiner - review

click on cover for excerpt link
Fly Away Home
Jennifer Weiner

cover - I love when a cover fits the story so well.  There are three women, there is a beach, and a house on the cliff that plays a large part in the story.  The only thing I can find different is one of the women should have very curly long blonde hair, the other should be very, very skinny...and the mom - looks like a mom from the back.  Good cover.

Fly Away Home is one of those books - you're angry and pushing for the characters at the same time.  It's life affirming, these people go through some horrible events, and some make some stupid decisions, but in the end everyone perseveres....and as usual, Ms Weiner has written a book that keeps you engaged in the characters and the story. This is about three women - Sylvie, Diana and Lizzie.  A mom and two daughters who each have come to a crossroads in their life.  Very different stories.

It starts off with the Mom, Sylvie - who has been an uberdevoted wife of a politician.  At times more devoted to her husband and his career than her two children she has totally lived her whole life for him and his career.  He pays her back by cheating on her.  The story is broken over the news and Sylvie has to do that thing that all politician's wives seem to be forced to do - stand there with a smile on their face while their husband is admitting or lying about the affair in front of millions of viewers. (just once, I'd like to see a women totally lambast her husband, just say on air, he was a cheating bastard and I'm leaving his dirty ass!).  After going through this, she becomes so angry that she has to leave - and ends up at the family coastal estate where she spends the following months learning how to finally live for herself.

Diana, the oldest daughter is a driven doctor.  She is so into her career and was previously hurt in a relationship and has purposely married a man that she really isn't attracted to, just because she thought he might be the right man.  Only years later, she is so bored by him that the slightest thing he does (or doesn't do) enrages her.  Only she won't even admit that she's disgusted by him.  Nope she stuffs it down and runs miles to de-stress.  However, her story begins after she's begun a torrid affair with a young intern...Things are complicated because she has a son.  This is ironic, because Diana has always been the correct daughter, the daughter who did every thing right and would never make a mistake.

Lizzie has always been the black sheep of the family.  Into drugs and taking pictures or hiding behind a camera.  She has a real talent for photography, but she's always been different from the rest of the family and has taken refuge in drug use from an early age.  Recently out of rehab, she ends up staying with her sister to take care of her nephew.  Of course, Diana is just waiting for Lizzie to screw up - expects it.  Lizzie meets a man - a great guy but this is complicated because he has a bad experience with an alcoholic mom...

At one point, all three women's lives hit this moment where they just have to get away.  The end up with their mother at the beach house, healing.  Only healing is a long process.  

Basically, Fly Away Home is the story of the three womens' past as well as how they each come to terms with their lives and find their own ways of moving forward.  I found myself unaccountably irritated with the mom and her final decision regarding her husband - not the choice I would have made.  But I loved how the two daughters' lives turned out and the decisions that they made.  None of these women were angels, they all made some bad choices - but they all moved ahead, eventually learning how to deal with life and all the life dumps on you.  And each of them ended up with a certain kind of peace.

Good story.  Very believable dialogue and some characters that I had fun hating, as well as some wonderful characters that I was rooting for.  Ultimately it's a book about healing and forgiving - forgiving others as well as yourself.  Jennifer Weiner has written quite a few wonderful books - always inspiring.  Her characters can make some bad choices/mistakes or have some rotten things happen to them and still grow as people.  Inspiring.

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