02 August 2010

Fly Away Home

By Jennifer Weiner
Published by Atria Books
A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
July 2010

Jennifer Weiner has always written good books; I've read them all. But with last year's "Best Friends Forever" and now her latest novel, "Fly Away Home", Weiner seems to have taken on a new maturity and complexity in her writing. While previous novels seemed to centre around one main character, "Fly Away Home" is about a family, each character given an equal story, each story drawing the reader into the family.

US politicians cheating on their wives makes for a good story in real life and it makes for an excellent story here. What does a fifty-something wife do with this kind of news after she has spent her entire married life devoted to her husband, furthering his political ambitions? What do you do when your duties as a wife outweighed your duties as a mother - your every waking hour being consumed by life as a senator's spouse - and now you've been replaced by a younger version of you?

When Richard Woodruff's family finds out about his "transgression" each member embarks on a life-changing journey of their own. Wife Sylvie retreats to her childhood summer home in Connecticut; married daughter Diana, an ER physician, has to come to grips with her own affair with a med student; and single daughter Lizzie, having just come out of rehab, has to adjust to life without drugs or alcohol.

While each character's story is compelling, the minor players in the book bring out Weiner's comedic side - Gary, mouth-breathing husband of Diana; acerbic-tongued retired judge Selma, Sylvie's mother; and Sylvie's best friend, Ceil, round out the characters and make the book a little less serious.

This book has intrigued me more than any other Weiner has written. It's serious and funny, heart-breaking and loving. It's based on what we hear in the news, but brings us where the news never goes, which is into the heart of a family on the verge of splitting apart. "Fly Away Home" is Weiner's best novel yet.

1 comment:

Heather Smith said...

Sounds like a good read!