You have probably heard of In Her Shoes, maybe seen the film with Toni Colette and Cameron Diaz. Or Certain Girls? Good in Bed? They are all by best selling author Jennifer Weiner. This particular book is not new, it is almost five years old. Why did I pick it?
I just left Philadelphia, home of Jennifer Weiner. Also, this book is set along the East Coast. Here in D.C., walking around the sights, I look at the tour guides wondering if one of them could be Jeff?
You don’t know what I am talking about yet, but you will, after this book. This is the beauty of travel reading: It brings places to life, it is a backstage pass – sometimes to places as touristy as Los Angeles or New York – and it reminds you that people live here, it is not just for tourists. They let you see the place in a completely different light (someday I will tell you about an acquaintance who has been living in Paris for over ten years and has never been to the Eiffel Tower).
Fly Away Home is the story of three women whose lives have been uprooted, changed unexpectedly and who have to each find their own way to deal with what life has given them. They are all in the spotlight after their husband and father is caught having an affair and they have to reconsider who they are and who they want to be.
Sylvie Serfer Woodruff is a senator’s wife, that is her job and her purpose, or so she thought. She has raised her daughters and has been at her husband’s side at all times. And yet, he cheats on her with a women their daughters’ age. When her public life becomes a public humiliation, she retreats and starts to find herself and the life that she gave up for her husband. In the family’s old beach house in Connecticut, she slowly builds a life for herself.
“Divorce isn’t such a tragedy. A tragedy’s staying in an unhappy marriage, teaching your children the wrong things about love. Nobody ever died of divorce.”
And then there are Sylvie’s daughters, Diana and Lizzie. The latter, a recovering addict trying hard to find her way in life. Her older sister seems to have it all; she is a doctor with a loving husband and a perfect son, Milo. Except it is not what she wants. What she wants is the guy waiting in the ER for her, and it takes the news of her father’s infidelity and the threat of her situation being uncovered to make a decision and take the next step. And it seems to take her to the old beach house in Connecticut.
“People will want you to behave a certain way, to make a certain choice because it reinforces the way they see the world…But you have to do what’s right for you.”
Lizzie’s life sometimes seems the focus. The recovering woman has to move in with her sister and her perfect family while she tries to get her life together and finds herself rediscovering her life for photography. Over the summer, she takes care of her nephew, which is a beautiful and unexpected relationship developing in the book.
They all have decisions to make and lives to uphold. People come in and out of their lives and while their father and husband ties the story together, it is the three women who are the heart of this novel. With the many facets of the character, we can each find something of us in them and connecting with them along their journey.