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Fly Away Home: A Novel Hardcover – July 13, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Bookmarks Magazine

The Philadelphia Inquirer writes that Weiner "transcends her own fiercely defended chick-lit author status by running her highlighter across a hot-button question of the zeitgeist: What do public marriages mean in the era of Tiger, Eliot, John, and Billary?" Other critics, however, aren't quite so sure that Fly Away Home rises above Weiner's usual fare. After all, it's the compulsively likable, if somewhat clichéd, women and their issues that take center stage; the less-developed male characters fall by the wayside. Still, as she does in previous novels, Weiner successfully excavates complex relationships. In the end, if not one of Weiner's best, Fly Away Home "is a well-tuned hymn to the resilience of women in the wake of heartache, regret, and the failed promises of Botox" (Philadelphia Inquirer).

From Booklist

Sylvie Serfer Woodruff is stunned when her husband, Senator Richard Woodruff, is exposed by the press for having an affair with a staffer. Though Sylvie is humiliated, she agrees to stand by Richard’s side during his mea culpa press conference. As soon as it’s over, she heads to a house in Connecticut owned by her family, not sure whether she wants to end her marriage or not. The Woodruffs’ two daughters are at similar crossroads in their lives. Diana, a physician with a young son, is carrying on an affair with a younger man after growing weary of her marriage, while her younger sister, Lizzie, a recovering addict, is trying to rebuild her life after a stint in rehab. Realizing she has always put Richard first before her children, Sylvie makes a bid to have her daughters join her out at the Connecticut house and is surprised to find their lives as tumultuous as hers has become. Weiner’s trademark blend of wit and sensitivity distinguishes this timely tale about a family in crisis. --Kristine Huntley

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books; 1 edition (July 13, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743294270
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743294270
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (256 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #248,940 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

83 of 85 people found the following review helpful By CozyReadersCorner on July 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Fly away home is the beautifully written story of Sylvie, a politicians wife, and her two daughters Diana and Lizzie. In the wake and aftermath of scandal these three women are forced to face the truth about themselves including who they are, who they want to be and what they want out of life. The women deal with past issues as well as present. Weiner does a wonderful job of taking the serious issues of commitment, self-esteem, identity and choices and mixing them with comical moments.

Meet the women of Fly Away Home:

Sylvie: Wife of Senator Richard Woodruff. Sylvie has spent her life in her husbands service, helping him, guiding him and focusing on him. After his affair is brought into the open, Sylvie must re-evaluate who she is and who she wants to be. She must make the biggest decision of all. Will she be able to trust and forgive?

Diana: The eldest daughter of Sylvie and Richard Woodruff. After watching her parents marriage, Diana has a very clear path for her life and how she wants it to be. While everything makes sense on paper, Diana forgets about the heart and love. When she is reminded her world is turned upside down and she must choose to love or not to love? Will she be happy?

Lizzie: (Elizabeth) The youngest daughter of the Woodruff's and the family screw-up. Returning from rehab, Lizzie is determined to be better, to make something of herself, and to stay clean. It seems the world doesn't want to make this easier for her, and her family isn't in the best state to help. Will she be able to overcome of one the hardest parts of her life? Will she learn from the rehab and will she survive the shock and surprises she will encounter along the way?

The novel is divided into three sections.
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56 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Zee on July 14, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Maybe I was expecting too much? I have enjoyed Jennifer Weiner's works in the past. I really wanted to like this book, but I just finished and found myself saying... "blah."
Nothing happens. And at the same time, everything seems sadly predictable. Reading this is like eating cotton candy -- pretty promises but empty.
Maybe the point is that these scandals are commonplace now and the story is "no story." Because really, now that I'm done, I feel so let down and like I wasted time.
Sylvie continues to go through the motions the entire book. No wonder her husband sought somebody else. She's on autopilot and things don't seem to change. First she takes a swing at her philandering spouse. Then she says she'll be on t.v. She didn't even have a conversation (argument, conflict, upset) about the whole "stand by your man" bit -- in fact her man didn't even ask her to stand by him. Next she's hiding (in Connecticut?? ) and grocery shopping as therapy? She learns to cook overnight, a sensation on her first try. And that's the extent of her growth?
Some of this is rehashed headlines with bits and pieces of Grey's Anatomy, The Good Wife, and an after school special on what not to do when your kid is addicted (I can't believe her father asked her to make him a drink). Every daughter plot point was telegraphed in advance. I knew exactly what was going to happen (and it did). But I won't say what -- no spoilers (well, not much) on my watch.
So, yeah. This could be a beach read. Just don't get your hopes up. I'm still searching for the book of the summer.
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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful By LisaEC on August 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I hate to do this (give this book such a low rating) but I truly found it close to dreadful. I have read other Jennifer Weiner books and liked them all, but I found 'Fly Away Home' to be quite slow and boring. As others stated in their reviews, I too kept waiting for something to happen, for there to be something funny, or for me to actually care about the characters - none of which ever happened (for me). I found it hard to beleive that Sylvie didn't talk to her husband for months and then suddenly started talking to him every day, that Diana would actually marry a man who by every discription in the book was totally wrong for her, and that Lizzie did a full 180 with no slip-ups. I found myself wishing that there was some happiness and at least one reason to root for the main characters.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Ashley on July 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I'm a big fan of Jennifer Weiner, and thoroughly enjoyed her past work. But this novel just didn't do it for me. I've read and reread her past books, so maybe this bothered me more than it would other people. But some of the scenes/lines in this book are too reminiscent of past books. For example, the scene in which Diana meets her husband is quite similar to the way Kelly (in Little Earthquakes) meets hers. Both women go out to get drunk immediately after being dumped, and then meet a sweet man in that bar who later becomes her future husband. Before they have sex, Jeff asks Lizzie "Is it safe?", the same exact line that Sam says to Lia (also in Little Earthquakes). There are about a thousand more ways a man could ask a woman if she's using some kind of birth control, no? I don't know, these examples just stood out and irked me.

The characters weren't easy to care about, either. For instance, I wanted to like the character of Lizzie, but she was too nonchalant about Jeff and about her pregnancy. I wanted to like Diana, but there were few and far between moments in the book where I could tell that she actually cared about her son. It seems like we were just told towards the end how much she loves him, but throughout the book the majority of her scenes she is not around him nor thinking of him. Maybe if there were more past scenes showing the characters' history, they would've been better developed and more likeable. And I won't even go in to Sylvie, who has a change of heart toward the end that seemingly came out of nowhere.

Finally, the book had its funny moments, but was not nearly as funny as her past efforts. Despite the criticisms above, I will continue to read Jennifer Weiner, books like In Her Shoes and Little Earthquakes were funny, fun, and hard to put down.
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