Thursday, October 15, 2015

Julie's Review: The Art of Crash Landing


Author: Melissa DeCarlo
Series: None
Publication Date: September 8, 2015
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
Pages: 432
Obtained: publisher
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5.0
Bottom Line: Witty novel about a 30 year old still struggling to find herself and figure out who her mother was
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab!
Summary: From a bright new talent comes this debut novel about a young woman who travels for the first time to her mother’s hometown, and gets sucked into the mystery that changed her family forever. Mattie Wallace has really screwed up this time. Broke and knocked up, she’s got all her worldly possessions crammed into six giant trash bags, and nowhere to go. Try as she might, Mattie can no longer deny that she really is turning into her mother, a broken alcoholic who never met a bad choice she didn’t make. When Mattie gets news of a possible inheritance left by a grandmother she’s never met, she jumps at this one last chance to turn things around. Leaving the Florida Panhandle, she drives eight hundred miles to her mother’s birthplace—the tiny town of Gandy, Oklahoma. There, she soon learns that her mother remains a local mystery—a happy, talented teenager who inexplicably skipped town thirty-five years ago with nothing but the clothes on her back. But the girl they describe bears little resemblance to the damaged woman Mattie knew, and before long it becomes clear that something terrible happened to her mother, and it happened here. The harder Mattie digs for answers, the more obstacles she encounters. Giving up, however, isn’t an option. Uncovering what started her mother’s downward spiral might be the only way to stop her own. Hilarious, gripping, and unexpectedly wise, The Art of Crash Landing is a poignant novel from an assured new voice. ~amazon.com

Review: Art of Crash Landing is a witty and touching novel about learning to let go of your past or your parent's past so that you can live your life: present and future. Mattie is seriously messed up. At 30 years old she's got no direction, no job, no money and she's pregnant. She's not exactly in the best position to have a child and become a mom. I'm not saying couldn't or shouldn't, but she needs to get her "house" in order quickly.

 Mattie can't let go of the guilt over her mother's death and we aren't entirely sure why. Did she play a role in it or is just survivor's guilt. She clings to her step-dad, Queeg, for some sense of normalcy in her life. He loves Mattie but wants her pull herself together and figure out what to do with her life. He hasn't given up on her but he's exasperated with her. Mattie is impulsive so when she finds out that she's inherited her grandmother's house in OK, she sets off in the Malibu. Of course it isn't as easy as showing up and getting the estate, Mattie has to wait for the law to do its thing.

Like most characters who are screw-ups, you really just want Mattie pull her $@% together and get on with it. Being in her mom's hometown makes Mattie wonder who her mom was when she was younger and why she split town and never came back. This leads her to do some digging and it really ends up in a place that I didn't expect.

While the books has its moments or getting me a little teary-eyed, more than anything I found it witty and hopeful. We all have struggles but it's how we persevere and walk through them is how we find out how strong we are. It isn't until Maddie discovers her mother's past and path, that she can separate herself from them and become her own person. Her mother's life had haunted her until she came to terms with the fact that her mother's decisions weren't hers.

The Art of Crash Landing is filled with some great supporting characters as well, whom provide a good many chuckles. Ms. DeCarlo has a gift for writing witty characters, that have struggles we can relate to as well. Her characters and plot are well written and crisp. I even liked the fact that the ending of the novel wasn't "clean" and wrapped up in a bow. Life is never a nice, neat bow

I look forward to reading Ms. DeCarlo's next book and I encourage you all to pick up The Art of Crash Landing to read.

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