Monday, February 11, 2013

Julie's Review: The Aviator's Wife

Summary: In the spirit of Loving Frank and The Paris Wife, acclaimed novelist Melanie Benjamin pulls back the curtain on the marriage of one of America’s most extraordinary couples: Charles Lindbergh and Anne Morrow Lindbergh. For much of her life, Anne Morrow, the shy daughter of the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, has stood in the shadows of those around her, including her millionaire father and vibrant older sister, who often steals the spotlight. Then Anne, a college senior with hidden literary aspirations, travels to Mexico City to spend Christmas with her family. There she meets Colonel Charles Lindbergh, fresh off his celebrated 1927 solo flight across the Atlantic. Enthralled by Charles’s assurance and fame, Anne is certain the celebrated aviator has scarcely noticed her. But she is wrong. Charles sees in Anne a kindred spirit, a fellow adventurer, and her world will be changed forever. The two marry in a headline-making wedding. Hounded by adoring crowds and hunted by an insatiable press, Charles shields himself and his new bride from prying eyes, leaving Anne to feel her life falling back into the shadows. In the years that follow, despite her own major achievements—she becomes the first licensed female glider pilot in the United States—Anne is viewed merely as the aviator’s wife. The fairy-tale life she once longed for will bring heartbreak and hardships, ultimately pushing her to reconcile her need for love and her desire for independence, and to embrace, at last, life’s infinite possibilities for change and happiness. Drawing on the rich history of the twentieth century—from the late twenties to the mid-sixties—and featuring cameos from such notable characters as Joseph Kennedy and Amelia Earhart, The Aviator’s Wife is a vividly imagined novel of a complicated marriage—revealing both its dizzying highs and its devastating lows. With stunning power and grace, Melanie Benjamin provides new insight into what made this remarkable relationship endure. ~amazon.com

Review: I'll be honest, when I closed the book after I read the whole thing, I can't help but think that Charles Lindbergh is an ass. I think what he accomplished in performing the first aviation flight across the Atlantic Ocean was a feat in and of itself but he got consumed in his own public persona. He never let Anne "in" to his life. She's his "crew" but that's all she ever really was to him. Maybe he did love her in his own way, but in my opinion she was just a person on his staff.

I never knew much about the Lindbergh's except about his flight and the kidnapping but how the media treated them was abhorrent. For me, they were the first victims of the paparazzi. They were put through things that no one else had been through during that time period. The press and the American public were fascinated by this first couple of the air. They wanted to be them and to be seen with them. It was an obsession.

There was only one time when I truly got mad at Anne and it was when she didn't speak up to her husband about the Jews treatment in Germany. I wanted her to stand up to him and fight for what she thought and believe. I didn't want her to be part of her husband's "group think" philosophy. Anne was such a product of her time. She was what women were expected to be a dutiful wife, a dutiful mother and to wait patiently as their husbands lived their lives. I am so happy that Anne figured out how to live her life even if it was in her 50s. I'm thrilled that she found the happiness she deserved, even if it wasn't with Charles. She found it mostly within herself. Back then, that took guts.

This book is so worth your time. It brings to light a pioneer who little is truly known about. For me, it had a slight lull in the last 3/4 of the book but nothing that kept me from reading. There is so much thought and research that went into the book to make Anne really, truly jump off the pages.
Anne Lindbergh was an accomplished woman in her own right, regardless of how she came to have those accomplishments. I am thankful to Ms. Benjamin for bring her story to life for me in The Aviator's Wife.

Final Take: 4.75/5

Alice's Review

Thank you to Pump Up Your Book Tours for including me.

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2 comments :

Dorothy Thompson February 11, 2013 at 10:22 AM  

Thank you so much for your wonderful review, Julie!

Whiskey and Books February 14, 2013 at 11:36 AM  

I've been debating picking this one up - I think it sounds worth it! Thanks :)

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