Title: Fly Away
Author: Kristin Hannah
Release Date: April 23, 2013
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Rating: 3 out of 5
Tully Hart and Kate Ryan were the best of friends, as readers witnessed in Firefly Lane, but now Kate is gone. Tully doesn’t know how to cope with her best friend’s death, and what’s more, she has no idea how to be there for Kate’s children. Kate’s teenage daughter, Marah, can’t fathom life without her mother and begins to act out because she doesn’t know how to deal with her grief. As these two spiral downward, they struggle to remember Kate’s legacy and be the people she’d want them to be.
Fly Away is the sequel to Kristin Hannah’s hit novel Firefly Lane, and it tells the story of Tully’s and Marah’s reactions to Kate’s death. It jumps through time, through past and present, but it roughly picks up straight after the first novel ends. If you haven’t read Firefly Lane, you should be able to pick up Fly Away as a standalone without too much trouble. Hannah reminds the reader of what happened in the first book; indeed, if you’ve read Firefly Lane you might find the constant reminders of the previous book’s plot a bit tedious.
This can be a difficult book to read. Hannah’s writing is, as always, crisp and clear and she develops her characters well. Though they can be frustrating at times, making poor choices, they’re relatable and sympathetic. However, this novel is very painful. Rather than having the worst of the worst come in one fell swoop and have Fly Away be about recovery and healing, the novel itself feels like a downward spiral. Hannah puts her characters through the ringer, and there isn’t much redemption or hope within its pages. It’s very sad and painful, which makes it hard to read.
One brighter aspect of Fly Away is that the reader finally gets to hear the story of Tully’s mother. She was a drug-addicted, alcoholic, absent mother who never showed her daughter much love. It was easy to vilify her in Firefly Lane; Fly Away gives the woman the chance to tell her own story, turning her into a three-dimensional person who walked around in a drug-fueled haze to escape the pain of her childhood. Worth reading, but again, painful and sad much of the time.
If you’ve read Firefly Lane, you’ll probably want to pick up Fly Away just for the continuation of the story. If you haven’t, though, it becomes difficult to recommend Fly Away. Though you can read it as a standalone, it’s full of so much pain that, without the background of the characters, it might just be too difficult. In the end, it was a book worth reading, but a hard one to be sure.
Other books by Kristin Hannah: