When She Flew – Jennie Shortridge

Title: When She Flew
Author: Jennie Shortridge
ISBN: 9780451227980
Pages: 352
Release Date: November 3, 2009
Publisher: NAL Trade
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Summary:

Officer Jessica Villareal’s life is a bit of a mess.  She’s only thirty-eight, yet she’s a grandmother.  Her daughter and her are estranged, though she does get to see her grandson, Mateo, relatively often.  She pours herself into her job as a cop because it’s the only thing she’s really sure of in her life.

When the police department finds a father and daughter living in the woods, Jessica is there to see it firsthand.  But for the first time, she questions whether the rules are always right, and whether she should risk everything for these two people she hardly knows.

Review:

When She Flew is based on true events in the Portland, Oregon area.  In 2004, a homeless Vietnam veteran was found living in the woods with his daughter.  There was media frenzy surrounding the whole thing, and it inspired the author to create a story loosely based on these events.  However, the emotions and amazing character development is all Jennie Shortridge’s own.

This book brings up some really thought-provoking questions about abuse and the needs of children.  Is it better for a child to be with a parent that loves them and is devoted to them, yet can’t provide the material things a child needs, or is it better to place that child in foster care, where they are almost sure to not receive the emotional support they would have otherwise had?  It’s an incredibly interesting discussion that is tackled head on in When She Flew.

Jessica was the best part of this book for me.  She was incredibly well-developed, and had issues of her own.  She didn’t automatically do the right thing – in fact, it was often difficult to tell what the right thing was.  She grappled with her decisions in her mind, though in the end, she made the decisions she felt that she could live with.  It was so interesting, seeing the cop part of her face off against the part of her that was a mother.

When She Flew is also intriguing because you are never sure of whether Jessica is making the best choices for everyone involved.  Often, things happen that make her (and the reader) doubt and question.  The ethical issues in this book are so enormous, yet Shortridge handles them realistically with both grace and dignity.  This book would make a wonderful book club pick, and is perfect for anyone looking for a thought-provoking novel that isn’t difficult to read.

Comments

  1. Sounds like a very thought-provoking read! 🙂 Thanks for hte great review.

  2. Sounds like a very thought-provoking read! 🙂 Thanks for hte great review.

  3. This is the second review I’ve seen of this book and I am definitely going to put it on my TBR list! Happy Holidays!

  4. This is the second review I’ve seen of this book and I am definitely going to put it on my TBR list! Happy Holidays!

  5. glad to hear you liked it, i hope to dig into it sometime over break. 😉

  6. glad to hear you liked it, i hope to dig into it sometime over break. 😉

  7. What I liked about this book were the questions it raised all while keeping a quick, entertaining pace. Great review! I hope that people pick this one up.

  8. What I liked about this book were the questions it raised all while keeping a quick, entertaining pace. Great review! I hope that people pick this one up.

  9. I’ve wanted to read this book ever since I first heard about it in a review somewhere else in blogosphere. Sounds gorgeous!

  10. I’ve wanted to read this book ever since I first heard about it in a review somewhere else in blogosphere. Sounds gorgeous!

  11. Glad to see you liked it. Serena’s reading it right now, and she’s been talking about it with me and she seems to like it. I’ll keep this one in mind.

    –Anna
    Diary of an Eccentric

  12. Glad to see you liked it. Serena’s reading it right now, and she’s been talking about it with me and she seems to like it. I’ll keep this one in mind.

    –Anna
    Diary of an Eccentric

  13. I’m so fascinated that this was based on true events. Julie shared her copy with me and I can’t wait to read it.

  14. I’m so fascinated that this was based on true events. Julie shared her copy with me and I can’t wait to read it.

  15. I work for child welfare services, and one of the things we often have to educate people about (even our own employees at times) is that homelessness is not child abuse. It’s very true that no matter how bad a child’s life may seem, separation from their parents is usually even more traumatic. And middle-upper class standards are often quite different, and just because a family doesn’t meet society’s standards doesn’t mean the children aren’t safe.

    Okay, spiel over. But I agree, this book does a great job of bringing these issues to light. It’s also a great story on its own.

  16. I work for child welfare services, and one of the things we often have to educate people about (even our own employees at times) is that homelessness is not child abuse. It’s very true that no matter how bad a child’s life may seem, separation from their parents is usually even more traumatic. And middle-upper class standards are often quite different, and just because a family doesn’t meet society’s standards doesn’t mean the children aren’t safe.

    Okay, spiel over. But I agree, this book does a great job of bringing these issues to light. It’s also a great story on its own.

  17. Wonderfully written review – I loved this book, too. So many issues and she wrote it so beautifully.

  18. Wonderfully written review – I loved this book, too. So many issues and she wrote it so beautifully.

  19. This story fascinates me and that it is well written make me want to read it even more.

  20. This story fascinates me and that it is well written make me want to read it even more.

  21. Shortridge writes wonderful, realistic characters.

  22. Shortridge writes wonderful, realistic characters.

  23. I enjoyed this one, too. I agree with your thoughts.

  24. I enjoyed this one, too. I agree with your thoughts.

  25. I enjoyed this, too, but was more interested in Lindy’s story than Jess’.

    I think Jess’ character was trying to address many different storylines, maybe too many.

    The novel raises so many questions and lines of thought; it definitely stays with you long after reading it.

  26. I enjoyed this, too, but was more interested in Lindy’s story than Jess’.

    I think Jess’ character was trying to address many different storylines, maybe too many.

    The novel raises so many questions and lines of thought; it definitely stays with you long after reading it.

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