FLIGHT by Ginger Strand


Back in April 2007, I wrote a post about a book called Flight by Ginger Strand. I had read a review of it and was intrigued. Tonight, I finished it. It took me a long time to read it, not because it was a long book, but because I didn’t particularly enjoy it.

The book is about a nuclear family – mom, dad, two grown daughters – who converge on the parents’ home on the eve of the youngest daughter’s wedding. This is not a subtle book – each of the characters is in varying degrees of fleeing from a bad relationship, whether it’s a long marriage, a shorter one, or one that hasn’t even taken place yet – hence the title. Also, the father is an airline pilot, and 9/11 is supposed to be looming in the background, ostensibly causing the characters to reexamine their lives amidst the realization of its frailty.

It doesn’t sound so bad. But here’s why I didn’t like it. While I usually enjoy family dramas, I found this one suffocating. Strand’s best attributes as a writer, in my opinion, worked to her disadvatange here. Her eye for detail is pretty amazing – her ability to construct wholly believable scenes and convey the layers of family relationships through realistic dialogue and precisely drawn actions is very impressive. However, I felt like I was reading this book in real time – that I was actually living this 48-hour period along with this unhappy family. I wanted out. I wanted to go somewhere else and get away from them, to shed the burden of experiencing their lives. This is not a good quality in a novel.

I also didn’t like the characters. They are each frustrating and somewhat unlikeable. I just didn’t care if the youngest went through with her wedding or if the parents worked out their issues. That’s another fatal flaw for me – if I just don’t care what happens, I have a hard time getting through the book.

I could go on – some subplots that didn’t get enough attention or resolution, for example – but suffice it to say I just didn’t love this book. Strand is clearly a very talented writer – as I mentioned, her gift for detail and precision is remarkable – but the plot and characters on this one just didn’t do it for me. I read to escape, and this book felt like a prison.

2 Comments

  • rissa winkelman
    January 22, 2008 - 6:59 am | Permalink

    I read this book also. It was very average and disappointing. In fact, I found it very trite. Who cared about the people as they were portrayed.
    I finished it, but it took work.
    With so many great books out there (and I have read quite a few lately, I certainly could have passed on this one.

  • Nancy West
    January 22, 2008 - 8:55 am | Permalink

    I agree with both of you. I read it when Gayle first included it on the blog and found it quite forgettable, though I have to say I did find the ending unexpectedly satisfying.

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