The winner of When She Flew was commenter #23, which is Angie! Congratulations, Angie! I’ve emailed you for your mailing address.When She Flew by Jennie Shortridge 352 pages Published November 3, 2009 Fiction
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to write this review without giving away a lot of spoilers. If you haven’t read the book, feel free to skip down to my two sentence verdict.
I was really intrigued by the premise of When She Flew by Jennie Shortridge: a young girl, 12 years old, and her father, an Iraq veteran with PTSD, are found living in the wilderness. The girl, Lindy, is happy, healthy, and getting an education, but the police have decided that the father isn’t providing a good enough home for Lindy and wants to break them up and send Lindy to a foster home. One of the police officers on duty, Jess, doesn’t think this is right and disobeys her orders to take Lindy to Social Services. Instead, Jess reunites Lindy and her father and helps them escape.
The book alternates narration between Jess and Lindy. Lindy loves birds, so birds come up in various ways throughout the novel, and you’ll see Lindy’s passion for birds as she talks about them. Before Lindy and her father are taken away from her home, they have an owl that hangs around their campground and sleeps near them. Lindy followed a blue heron in the creek near their home, which is how she and her father were found out, because some bird watchers happened to see Lindy and were concerned about her welfare.
I loved the themes running through this book: Where, exactly, is home? What makes a good home? Must people accept modern technology to provide their children a good home? When do you obey orders and when do you disobey orders? How do you know what the right thing to do is? What makes a family?
There was a subplot that I didn’t think was explored enough. Jess has a daughter who she has a tense relationship with, at best. The reader is given a little background into their relationship, but I would have liked to have seen a little more development at the end, because I felt like the relationship changed around a little too quickly for all the history Jess and her daughter had between themselves.
The only other thing that I thought should have been explored more was Lindy’s dad’s PTSD. At one point her dad’s irrationality due to the PTSD put her in serious danger. PTSD was thrown in a little too lightly and never fleshed out as far as whether to take that into consideration when allowing Lindy’s dad to retain custody of her, or even how bad his PTSD was.
Overall, I enjoyed When She Flew. I think there wasn’t enough of a balance between plot and character development, but it certainly didn’t make me enjoy the story any less.
Rating: 85 out of 100
Check out Jennie Shortridge’s website.
Jennie Shortridge has graciously agreed to provide an extra copy for a giveaway! To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment telling me what your favorite bird is. Only one entry per person. Contest ends Saturday, December 12, 2009 at 11:59pm PST. US and Canada only.
Book source: As noted above, I received this book from the publisher via TLC Book Tours. Just so we’re clear.
And one more thing? If you click on one of the When She Flew links and buy something from Amazon, I’ll make a commission! Mwahahahaha!! Maybe with the pennies I make I’ll be able to call someone who cares.
You can thank the FTC for this disclosure!