Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Aviator's Wife (Melanie Benjamin)

One of the most famous historical figures of all time has to be Charles Lindbergh.  Lucky Lindy is not just known for his amazing solo plane trip but also for the tragic kidnapping and death of his firstborn son.  The debate also continues on whether or not he was a a Nazi sympathizer.  In Melanie Benjamin's The Aviator's Wife, he is certainly not made out to be very likable, and Benjamin obviously sides with his wife, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, a noted author and aviator in her own right.

In this work of historical fiction, Benjamin digs deep into the unlikely marriage of Anne and Charles, from their first meeting to their first flight together to their often dysfunctional life.  She starts The Aviator's Wife from the time after Lindbergh's flight, when he was an iconic celebrity and one of the most known people in the world.  After Charles's and Anne's marriage and subsequent arrival of their son, the reader is taken through the heartbreaking time of the kidnapping, after which neither one would ever be the same.

Even though Benjamin always does her research, this novel is a hard sell.  She definitely does not make Charles out to be the greatest guy in the world, but I found myself not liking Anne very much as well.  By the end of the novel, they've both done things that make it hard for a reader to sympathize with them and therefore, want to go on their journey with them.  I strongly recommend one of Benjamin's other novels, Alice I Have Been, about the true Alice in Wonderland, for a much stronger work.