I like Jennifer Weiner. I’ve read quite a few of her novels and a short story collection, and either liked each one, really liked it, or loved it. Once you have that kind of familiarity with an author, you pretty much know what you are going to get when you read one of their books. That can be good, but it also can get a little old (for example, if you “discover” an author and read 4 or 5 backlist titles back to back to back that knowing what to expect quickly comes to feel predictable).
Fly Away Home is Jennifer Weiner’s latest novel. It surprised me, by seeming fresh and original, and yet also gave me exactly what I’ve come to expect from Weiner’s writing — women characters who are still figuring themselves out and don’t necessarily fit any certain mold involved in a story arc that is sure to get me invested in at least one character’s life and motivations.
And I always cry. I cry at the complicated yet ordinary lives that the characters lead. I cry at their good choices and their bad. I laugh too, because Jennifer Weiner has a wry sense of humor that comes through in her books, but at some point in the book, though they would not be classified as tear-jerkers, my throat catches and my eyes well up. In fact, I remember sobbing at the end of Certain Girls, a book that I think I loved so much because it was about a mom and her 13-year-old daughter and it resonated with me so much, both remembering my own early teen years and looking to the not-to-distant future with my daughter.
Fly Away Home is the story of a family of women who are each facing a crisis of some sort, causing them to evaluate who they are. Sylvie Woodruff always thought that she was happy with her role of Senator’s wife, but as she’s gotten older, she begins to wonder what she’s compromised. All her doubts are brought to the forefront when her husband’s affair is uncovered by the media.
Sylvie’s eldest daughter Diana has always tried to create the secure homelife she missed out on. She is a doctor, a mom, a wife. She seems to have it all, so why is she having an extramarital affair of her own?
In contrast to her mom and her big sister, Lizzie is finally getting her life together. She’s just out of recovery, and getting ready to embark on a promising new photography career. But can she gain others’ trust?
If you like Jennifer Weiner, I think you’ll like Fly Away Home as a fresh new offering. If you’ve never read her books, or you read one and didn’t like it (which I can’t imagine), give this one a try.
We have one copy of this hardcover novel to give away to one of you (U.S. only). Please leave a comment and we’ll announce the winner in the July 26 5 Minutes for Books column right here.
The winners of Once Upon a Time in the Kitchen are #61 Jaimie K, #72 Terry Mac, and #26 Marj McClendon. You should have received an email, but if not, please send your shipping info to 5minutesforbooks (AT) gmail.
Thanks to the publisher for the review copy and hosting the giveaway.