Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith
Like father, like daughter. Flying is in Ida Mae's blood, she never feels happier than when she's in the air. Unfortunately, everything seems to be working against her, now that her dad is gone, to keep her from flying.
Then the second world war starts. Ida Mae's brother enlists in the army but Ida still feels that she could do something to help. And maybe she could even fly again.
Women were not allowed to be pilots in the United States Army but there was a new program known as WASP (or Women Airforce Service Pilots.) that she could possibly enlist in. WASP would allow her to do her part, as the lack of able bodied men in the country had caused a need for pilots to ferry planes to drop off points.
But there is a slight catch...colored people aren't allowed to join WASP. Luckily, Ida Mae has very light skin (her father was part white), that she's inherited from her father, and she has her father's pilot license. She uses this to gain entrance into the WASP training program.
However, Ida Mae's true roots are never far from her mind. Exposure would mean arrest and expulsion and she can't dare let that happen. But even as Ida Mae's dreams of flying are realized; Ida must decide who she wants to be and figure out if WASP is what she really wants.
One thing I can say about Flygirl, is that it definetely surpassed my expectations. I never expected to really enjoy this book...but I did. Which is a plus, for sure.
Flygirl deals with alot of tough topics like discrimination and racism. Ida Mae is discriminated against because of her skin color and because of her gender. It's hardhitting and really show how life must have been like for those people back then.
My favorite part of this novel was the relationship that developed between Ida Mae and two other women who were also training to be part of WASP. (*spoiler*I was worried, before she entered the training camp, that her race would be discovered by some bitchy fellow trainee and it'd be held over her head for the entire book. Thank goodness it didn't...)
Anyways, the friendship between Ida, Lilly and Patsy was really well done, I think. The trials and tribulations they faced in the camp made it so much more realistic and understandable. You can see these women bond over their love of flying and when a disaster strikes the trio, it just hurts that much more.
Ida's relationship with the people back home (ie. her mother, brothers and her friend Jolene) are also remarkably well done, I think. You can see Ida's mother's conflict with letting her daughter go off to fly especially with Ida's older brother off at war. All of it is just so heartwrenching and shows the problems that people went through because of the war with their losses and so on.
I'm not saying that the characterization was fantastic or that the storytelling was the best thing ever...but I will say that Sherri L. Smith pulled off the story well. History buffs, make sure you pick this one up when it's released tomorrow!