The Aviator’s Wife
by Melanie Benjamin
The Aviator’s Wife is this month’s pick for my library’s monthly book group. I’m actually free this time, so I decided to give it a try! For a while I turned my nose down on historical fiction novels (the genre of The Aviator’s Wife). I was a history major in college and obsessed with historical accuracy. I didn’t like the concept of taking real people and writing from their perspective, since it wasn’t their real words/feelings. However, I realized that it was not bothering me this time around. I actually really enjoyed the novel quite a bit. I new very little about the Lindberghs, and nothing about Anne. From a historical perspective, I loved reading about their lives and the impact they had on the world. I found it fascinating Benjamin’s goal to write history through an emotional perspective. I haven’t thought of historical fictions in that light before, but I admit that it is an enjoyable and moving way to learn about history. I did find the story itself very sad. I had no idea this family who had such an impact on the world could have so much tragedy in their lives, especially with the press/public: heartbreaking. I had to skim most of the section on the kidnapping. I was particularly moved by Anne’s personal journey. I admire her strength to grow from being hopelessly dependent; to being strong, independent, and capable of raising a family on her own. I have been on a similar journey myself, so it’s inspiring to read about another woman who learned to believe in herself and prove that she is both strong and capable. I especially love this excerpt from Anne’s perspective:
“Mother shook her head impatiently . . . ‘You’re . . . not weak.’ I remembered those words. I knew they were true . . . I brought them out every now and then, as I kept working . . . on my definition of my marriage . . . a marriage of two equals. With separate — but equally valid — views of the world; shared goggles no more, but looking at the same scenery, at the same time.”
This is a lovely way to describe a strong marriage, which is what I’m working towards. I think Anne’s journey is what I enjoyed most about this book. I also enjoyed Benjamin’s writing style. Sometimes I felt that she elaborated a little too much or repeated herself unnecessarily at times while describing someone’s character, or their feelings, etc. But that’s my only criticism, on an otherwise excellent book.
Summing it up: This was a great book, especially for someone interested in the Lindberghs and who doesn’t mind historical fiction. 😉 I recommend it.
All the best, Abbey