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3.6 out of 5 stars
Fly Away Home: A Novel
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80 of 82 people found the following review helpful
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. Each section skillfully sets up the next and smoothly transitions into it. Each section is divided into chapters, entitled by the woman who narrates the chapter. The first section focuses on past memories as well as current happenings. The second section dives deeper into the issues of the women, each leading to the point of no return. The third and final section brings the three women together. They face the past, present and future together and discover where home truly is.

Jennifer Weiner did a wonderful job with this novel. Fly away home quickly moved its way up the list of my favorite novels by Weiner. She encompasses so many relationships and focuses on them throughout the book. It is skillfully written and will make you laugh as well as feel the emotions of each character. You will find yourself relating to each character in your own way and rooting for them to find comfort and happiness. Fly Away Home is a heartbreaking, insightful novel, full of humor and interpersonal relationships. It will easily become a novel you will not want to put down, a novel that will carry you through many emotions, a novel you simply wont want to end.

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53 of 61 people found the following review helpful
on July 14, 2010
Format: Kindle EditionVerified 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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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
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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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
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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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on July 23, 2010
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
A bit depleted from reading dark literary fiction, I bought this book for my Kindle, thinking it would be some good mindless summer reading fun. Wrong. Cobbled together from the tired stories of every politician's sex scandal we've been subjected to in the last number of years and a cast of characters you know you're meant to care about but just can't, this uninventive and humorless tale had me questioning why I was spending my time reading it at 35% and bailing out altogether at 53%. Beach readers deserve better than this.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on July 14, 2010
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I have read every one of Jennifer Weiner's novels and short stories, and have loved almost all of them. But her latest novel is disappointingly ordinary. It could have been written by any mildly successful chick lit author. None of the characters make you feel much for them, and I found myself constantly wondering when anything interesting was going to happen. I read the book lying in bed with my Kindle, and at times actually caught myself getting distracted by the Law and Order re-runs my husband was watching. A tough one to love even for Weiner's fans.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on July 19, 2010
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I have always enjoyed Weiner's books and could hardly wait to get Fly Away Home.

Weiner has always created characters that are relatable, larger than life and generally jump off the page and right into your heart. They are a little crazy and always funny with at least one "laugh out loud" moment.

Not this one! The women in Fly Away Home are definitely NOT funny or even likable. They are crazy, but not in an engaging way. Three women -- the sell out attorney, the uptight, self righteous older daughter and the messed up addict little sister. The only redeeming character is the mother/grandmother Selma.

I am really disappointed and not sure why Weiner wrote this or why her editor or publisher thought it was a good idea.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I have loved all of Jennifer Weiner's past efforts- especially Goodnight Nobody which didn't seem to go over as well as her other books. This is a nice novel- but that's all it is. Normally I'm driving my husband crazy snorting with laughter as I'm reading her books, and I think this one might have elicited a single chuckle through the whole thing. Humor is a lost art in women's fiction as far as I'm concerned, and Jennifer Weiner was one of the few that had a great comic voice. I found this to be her most pedestrian, mainstream effort. Had it been written by anyone else, I don't know that I would have been so disappointed, but I depend on her to be funny! Hope she's back to form in her next book.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on July 23, 2010
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I've read every one of her books because I love the humor and banter she seems to so effortlessly create and maintain throughout her stories. "Fly Away Home" could have been written by any 2nd-class romance novelist. It's simply dreadful. Ms. Weiner, please stick to what you know. Or write under a pseudonym.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I usually love Weiner's novels, because I love her female characters and the depth of emotion she portrays through them. But Fly Away Home just left me saying "Eh..."

I never really came to care about any of the main characters. I could relate to some of their issues, but not fully. The author really didn't get into the emotional trauma and devastation Sylvie experienced after finding out about her husband's affair. I was never invested in Lizzie, because only bits and pieces of her past were told through some memories, we never truly experience it as a reader so her recovery really doesn't matter much to us. And we only find out about Diana's unhappiness with her husband after we know she's having an affair, so her affair brought about some irritation from me (because I can't stand reading about infidelity).

If you've never read a novel by Jennifer Weiner, I'd recommend you skip this one and try something else first: Good in Bed, In Her Shoes, Goodnight,Nobody, or Little Earthquakes are all significantly better.
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