Genre: Adult Contemporary Fiction
I am a nervous flyer. Each time I find myself vibrating in my seat as the plane charges down the runway before launching into the sky I grab the armrest in a white knuckle grip and give a reassuring smile to my kids. So far, I think I've managed to trick my kids into thinking that Mommy enjoys the excitement of air travel. However, while I don't enjoy it, flying is a somewhat routine part of my life, and I find myself on a plane at least once a year enduring my air anxiety with relative good cheer because it allows me to avoid a long and unpleasant road trip with impatient and loud children. So, I could identify with the premise of this book, which is the story of a plane crash. When I received this book via the Book of the Month club, (which is amazing and which you should go and join right now, here) there was warning tucked inside not to read this book on an airplane. This is excellent advice for any nervous fliers out there as this book will definitely remind you that you are literally placing your lives in the hands of those who are responsible for both flying and maintaining the aircraft.
The book begins almost immediately with the plane crash, so no spoilers there. However, this book is about so much more than a plane crash. While I was intrigued and invested in the mystery of the how and why, and that aspect of the book was very satisfying, I was more interested in what this book had to say about the mantle of celebrity, rights of privacy, and the news media. There are only two survivors to this plane crash. One, a four year old, and the other a man named Scott, a recovering alcoholic and failed artist. I don't want to spoil the survival aspect of this part of the novel, so suffice it to say I thought that the book did a great job of portraying the celebrity status and instant obsession that we thrust upon those in our society who we consider to have accomplished great or heroic deeds. The book also shows the dark side of this fame as those who have been blessed or cursed with this sort of attention seem to lose any rights to privacy and become the object of an intense investigation regarding their character and perceived motives.
I found this book to be timely, and it gave me a lot to think about. There were a few characters that I thought might have been inspired by certain real life media personalities. I highly recommend this one.