Thursday, January 17, 2013

Review: The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin

Description (from publisher):

'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' 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 licenses 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 notary 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.'

My thoughts:

To be honest I don't even know where to start with this novel. It was enjoyable to a certain extent because I was learning about something and people I don't know much about. However the characters lack vibrancy and I felt like I had a problem connecting with them. Charles Lindbergh is a highly opinionated man and it's his way or no way. He is determined to rule the lives of the people that surround him almost to the point of obsession. It actually is quite disturbing. Anne Lindbergh seems so vibrant at the beginning of this story and gradually throughout the tale it's like her very soul is sucked right out of her. She has no backbone and doesn't stand up for herself or for her own children. I wouldn't say Lindbergh was a physically abusive person, but he definitely was emotionally abusive to everyone around him. While reading this I began to actually hate Charles and while I felt pity for Anne and her situation, she just made it worse. She has no spine and no gumption and simply teeters on edge in fear of upsetting her controlling husband.

Maybe my problem with this tale is the time period it takes place in. Maybe women were treated like this on a more frequent basis, I don't know, but what I do know is that the modern woman wouldn't stand for this type of treatment. Charles lived in his own world. Seeing only what he wanted to see and caring only when it impacted him directly. This story is actually sort of depressing. The only really interesting part in this book is the kidnapping of their son. I didn't know much about this crime other than it was very popular at the time in the press. It was nice to see a different and more personal and emotional response to a famous crime when the actual people involved preferred to remain out of the limelight and didn't share anything. It put a different perspective on things.

Personally, I don't think that Melanie Benjamin is a bad writer. It's not her writing that turns me off, it's the characters. I felt like I was reading the story of a zombie, seriously. Anne is simply a shell. She lacks emotion and empathy that endear her to the reader. It was very hard to connect to her because she could have made things better for herself, but she lacked courage and it got old really quick. So if you would like to read about essentially a zombie that had her soul sucked out by her cold and controlling husband, by all means pick this one up. Just don't expect to connect with the characters or even remotely care about what happens. Sorry to say that I was very disappointed in this one.

Overall Rating: 2.5

Title:  The Aviator's Wife
Author:  Melanie Benjamin
Series:  N/A
Publisher:  Delacorte Press
Publication Date:  January 15, 2013
Pages:  416
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for my honest review. I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

8 comments:

  1. Aww, I'm sorry you didn't like this book. I'm very excited to read it and will be reviewing it in a couple weeks! I really enjoyed Benjamin's first two books as well, which makes me even more excited to read this one!

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    1. I really hope you enjoyed this one better than I did. It wasn't Benjamin's writing or anything like that, I just couldn't really like the main characters. Happy reading!!

      Kimberlee

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  2. Always appreciate an honest review -- especially on a book that's received advanced buzz. Thank you.

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    1. No problem..Thanks for stopping by...

      Kimberlee

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  3. Bummer that you didn't like it. I've seen a lot about this. I'm still on the fence about reading it, but I really didn't like her book Mrs. Tom Thumb. Really didn't like it, actually.

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    1. Its totally up to you if you read this one or not. I personally probably won't read any more of this authors works unless she comes out with something a lot better.

      Kimberlee

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  4. I'm sorry you didn't enjoy this book. I have it to be read in the coming weeks and am looking forward to it. I haven't read any of this author's other books yet, they are on my bookshelf though. The problems that you describe with the characters might actually be more of not liking how the people were in reality. From other things I have read, Anne did become very quiet and just follow along in her husbands shadow - and especially after the kidnapping.

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    1. That's exactly what I was thinking when writing this review. I was a little bummed out because I was really looking forward to reading this one. I think simply it was the people and not the writing or the author. The characters simply didn't seem that interesting to me. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment.

      Kimberlee

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