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Flyaway by Helen Landalf

Character:



This book was one that made me laugh, cry, and smile. I was longing to read more when I got to the last page. There are plenty of questions I could ask Landalf.
First, I would ask why she wrote this story revolved around drug addiction. Did she have a similar experience in her home growing up? I’d love to know her reasoning. I feel this would help me understand the whole book better. A story can be great, but a story is even greater, in my opinion, if the author has bits of their own life mixed in with it. For example, I love to write. I also have a drug addict in my family that I’ve grown up with. I can certainly write stories that have nothing to do with my life, but writing that includes experiences I’ve dealt with involving addiction has much more meaning to it.
My other question would be pertaining to Stevie. Where did her life end up going? I’m curious to know whether her and Alan last, what her mother’s fate is, and how she chooses to live after being influenced by her aunt. This would definitely help me understand the story better. If Stevie turned out okay, then Flyaway would be the story of her path to recovery. But if Stevie ended up choosing a life like her mother’s life, I would be confused as to what Landalf’s purpose for writing the book is.


Conflict:



The main conflict in this book is the addiction of Stevie’s mother and how that has shaped Stevie. If there’s anything I’ve learned in the past couple of years, it is that an addict does drugs because they are addicted. It is nobody else’s fault but their own, because they have chosen to make bad decisions. However, other people can certainly enable an addict, or in other words, contribute to the already existing problems. Stevie has been her mother’s biggest enabler for a long time. She takes on the responsibilities that her mother has failed to handle, such as bills and chores. I think Stevie knew that enabling her mother wasn’t going to help, but she did it anyways to try and keep her family from falling apart. The choices that Stevie makes affect her mother’s problems. When Stevie picks up the slack, her mother doesn’t have to take responsibility, and that certainly doesn’t help her make better decisions. If Stevie lets her deal with the problems without helping, then her mother is forced to face the problems more head on. Stevie plays a big role in her mother’s life, just like Stevie’s mother plays just as big of a role in her child’s life.

Theme:


A theme of Flyaway is “Be grateful for what you have.” Stevie hasn’t had the best home life, and her mother has let her down in many ways as a parent, but Stevie still comes to realize that her aunt is the mother she’s always wanted and needed. At first, she treats her aunt poorly, but they bond over time. Stevie learns to love the things she does have, like her aunt, Alan, her lover, and getting to work at the bird rehabilitation center. This is similar to the theme “You never know what you have until it’s gone.” This theme is common, and an example of it is in the Harry Potter book and movie series. Harry Potter, at times, mourns over the loss of his parents and wishes for more than what he already has, but he comes to understand how much he is blessed with because of the love and support he gets from friends and others at Hogwarts. Both stories show how humans tend to be ungrateful or unsatisfied, but if we all dig deep, there will be things to cherish- sometimes things right in front of us that we just overlook.



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Helen L said...
Jul. 17 at 7:29 pm:
Thank you so much for reviewing my book FLYAWAY! I really appreciated all the great questions you posed. I can't answer them all here, but I will answer one concerning my own life: I've never had a drug addiction problem myself, but someone close to me has. My experience with this person is part of what inspired me to write the book. I wanted to point out that the cover and link you posted are not to my book, but to another book called FLYAWAY by Lucy Christopher.
 
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