Sunday, September 19, 2010

review: fly away home by jennifer weiner

According to the acknowledgments, it was ten years ago that Jennifer Weiner started writing Fly Away Home, a touching story about family turmoil that kicks off with the revelation that the Senator had an affair with a legislative aide. This just goes to show that politicians have been cheating on their wives for a long time. But the affair is not the true focus; its public announcement is simply what causes the Woodruff family to finally begin dealing with their issues.

Oldest daughter Diana has created a perfect life but it's all a fa├žade. She's never really been interested in her husband, not even when they first started dating; she's now having an affair of her own (with a 25 year old intern at the hospital where she’s a doctor!). Lizzie, the troubled youngest daughter, is fresh out of rehab and acting as live-in nanny to Diana's only son. And with Richard’s infidelity out in the open, Sylvie escapes to her family’s isolated beach house and finally examines her life and marriage, which she must admit has not been all that she expected. After Diana confesses her affair to her husband, she packs up Milo and heads to the beach house as well; meanwhile, Lizzie has shocking news of her own that has her taking up her mom’s invitation to the beach house. That’s when everyone starts being honest.

This is one that pulls you in a bunch of different directions. Fly Away Home is sad at times (Tim telling Sylvie about the breakup of his marriage is a heart wrenching), but also quite humorous. There were times when I sympathized with the characters (and I adored Lizzie), but times when they were frustrating beyond belief (see Lizzie shutting out Jeff). In all it is an excellent novel.

Review copy provided by Engelman and Co.

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