Book Review: Fly Away Home – Jennifer Weiner

Title: Fly Away Home
Author: Jennifer Weiner
ISBN: 9780743294270
Pages: 416
Release Date: July 13, 2010
Publisher: Atria
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Source: Library
Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary:

Sylvie Serfer has been hungry for years and years.  However, she acknowledges that part of her role as a senator’s wife is staying thin and fit, and she’s happy to make that sacrifice for her husband.  Her career is supporting him, her purpose in life to make his easier, and she’s fine with that.  That is, until at the age of fifty-seven, her world comes crashing down on her.  She discovers that her husband Richard had an affair with a young intern.  Richard’s affair affects the entire family, from Sylvie to their two daughters, Diana and Lizzie.  Diana is a doctor who is unsatisfied with what her married life has presented her with, while Lizzie is a recovering addict.  Together, these women must cope with the repercussions of Richard’s infidelity.

Review:

I’m a big fan of Jennifer Weiner’s novels, and was thrilled to review her last endeavor, Best Friends Forever.  In Fly Away Home, Weiner takes on an entirely new topic – the political sex scandal and how it might affect those involved and closest to the situation.

Weiner’s view of the situation is a fascinating one.  There’s Sylvie, who has subjugated every need and ambition to her husband’s career.  When she thinks they have a good, stable marriage, she’s okay with that.  After all, she freely admits she never wanted the spotlight on her.  But once Richard’s extramarital affair is revealed, Sylvie begins to rethink everything.  Did she make the right decisions with her life?  Was she actually happy during her marriage, or was it all a facade she was hiding behind?  This process of reflection and self-discovery is satisfying, as Sylvie asks herself difficult questions and doesn’t shy away from the answers she finds.

The two daughters are also on their own paths.  While their father’s infidelity doesn’t affect them quite as directly as it does their mother, it still changes them.  For Diana, it makes her realize how complicated recent decisions she made really are.  She also becomes cognizant of the fact that infidelity affects everyone around you, not just the two involved in the marriage.  For Lizzie, it makes her rise to the occasion.  She’s tired of being the delicate one, the one everyone always has to take care of.  For once, she begins to accept responsibility.

Weiner also provides a fascinating commentary on the role of a politician’s wife.  Sylvie is expected to always be one step behind her husband, perfectly coiffed, and to always say the right thing.  She has few friends of her own because she’s forced to socialize with people who will help her husband’s career move forward.  After the extramarital affair story breaks, Sylvie is watched to force as the media judges her for her actions, when really she’s barely had time to think things through and is just living day to day.

Fly Away Home was a interesting look at the life of a politician’s family, and at how scandal can tear people apart, but also lead to important self-realizations.  In some ways, it’s a difficult novel to relate to due to its political scandal nature, but it’s a sympathetic book that puts a human face on something we read about on a daily basis.

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Comments

  1. I am a big fan of Jennifer Weiner and am looking forward to getting my hands on this one soon! Thanks for the review!

  2. I am a big fan of Jennifer Weiner and am looking forward to getting my hands on this one soon! Thanks for the review!

  3. This sounds really good. How interesting for somebody to tell the wife’s side of that story of the cheating politician that we hear all too often on the news. Great review!

  4. This sounds really good. How interesting for somebody to tell the wife’s side of that story of the cheating politician that we hear all too often on the news. Great review!

  5. I’ve missed some of her more recent novels as I’ve read less and less women’s fiction, but the premise of this one sounds really good. I’m glad to hear you liked it!

  6. I’ve missed some of her more recent novels as I’ve read less and less women’s fiction, but the premise of this one sounds really good. I’m glad to hear you liked it!

  7. Weiner’s never interested me, but this sounds like an interesting premise for a book. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  8. Weiner’s never interested me, but this sounds like an interesting premise for a book. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  9. This book seems to be right on time. With all the marriage scandals that have recently been exposed of those in various political offices, makes this book that more attractive to read.

  10. This book seems to be right on time. With all the marriage scandals that have recently been exposed of those in various political offices, makes this book that more attractive to read.

  11. I have this one on my shelf and will get to it eventually so I’m glad to see you liked it so much!

  12. I have this one on my shelf and will get to it eventually so I’m glad to see you liked it so much!

  13. That is a great topic. I would totally want to read this one.

  14. That is a great topic. I would totally want to read this one.

  15. I like Weiner but kind of stopped reading her books for some reason … I’m about 3 behind!

  16. I like Weiner but kind of stopped reading her books for some reason … I’m about 3 behind!

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