Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin

Fifteen members were at our monthly discussion for The Aviator's Wife, about the story of Anne Morrow Lindbergh.  Members said "Great choice and loved the book.  Charles was larger than life character" and "Thought it was going to be a dry non-fiction book, actually it was fiction, enjoyed it very much."   One person said she liked the voice the author gave the characters, being that she was from Minnesota had heard about Charles Lindbergh but hadn't read much.  A school librarian (now retired) said she really liked the book and was amazed how well Melanie Benjamin had taken the information she had gathered and compared it to reading a non-fiction book.

One member said she, like others had mentioned, gained a lot of information about the Lindberghs through this book.  "I had no idea she was a skilled pilot."  Many of us remembered and had read the book A Gift from the Sea. The group learned she was the 1st Woman Glider Pilot in 1931. {We also learned Emily Howell Warner, USA, was the first woman to be hired as a major airline pilot -- Frontier Airlines.}

We saw Anne as her father had called her "reliable Anne," always obedient but very strong to recognize her own strength.  When Charles went off on his flights without her she ran the household and when he left on his frequent trips to Germany, she managed it all.  She had strength like her mother had, was independent.  We talked about the abduction of their child, how that affected their whole family.

One member said she was "disappointed, heard in history class of a great American hero, disappointed in some of his choices" and felt a little by the group.  One member felt he possibly had some autism spectrum issues going on, but was definitely a very military trained man. Anne always tried to protect his public persona and what she thought he should be remembered for.   Some felt that he chose Anne because she was a part of the "crew" and a very obedient spouse.

"But the eyes are blind.  One must look with the heart" is a quote from the front of the book. "Charles had taught Anne to follow Polaris, the brightest star, never wavering and that's how she remembered him. She knew bad things, but was looking with her heart, choosing to see the good things," is what someone shared.

Many of us love these historical fictions and this one did not disappoint us in the least. and some expressed that they would like to read more about Charles and Anne Lindbergh.  We thought it was well-written and although disappointed to hear about Charles' other events in his life, he was still the first person to cross the Atlantic Ocean from New York to Paris.  I think we enjoyed reading and knowing his wife was there, always to support and lead him, a strength to the end.