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Takeoffs and Landings Paperback – March 1, 2003


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 14 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 8
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (March 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689855435
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689855436
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #908,793 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Despite an intriguing premise and format, Haddix's (Among the Imposters, reviewed June 11) novel may well stretch readers' credibility when years of problems are resolved in one brief summer trip. Siblings 15-year-old Chuck and 14-year-old Lori Lawson go on their first plane ride to join their motivational-speaker mother on a two-week five-city tour, and the teens end up learning about a lot more than fancy hotels and airports. Through Lori and Chuck's alternating perspectives (their mom breaks in occasionally to offer her point of view), readers discover just how angry the seemingly perfect Lori is towards her almost always absent mother and about overweight and clumsy Chuck's self-loathing they even learn why their mother won't talk about their father's death eight years ago. Haddix credibly maps out the Lawsons' dynamics and fills in some interesting details about growing up in agricultural Pickford County (in their chapters, Lori and Chuck discuss 4-H club and taking pigs to slaughter) but the three characters' chapters rotate so quickly that readers rarely get to settle into any one story line. The characters experience dramatic breakthroughs at the conclusion, each unearthing buried secrets from within themselves. But the revelations come too quickly and undermine the authenticity of the previous chapters. Ages 12-up.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Gr 5-8-A family struggling with guilt and loss learns that repressing feelings can be harmful. Fourteen-year-old Lori Lawson is popular, deeply fearful of appearing "different," and has a narrow view of the world; in short, she's a fairly typical teen. Her 15-year-old brother Chuck is overweight, insecure, and the object of derision in their rural home town. Their mother is a successful motivational speaker who tries to repair her failing relationship with her oldest children by taking them on a lecture tour. Finally, they talk to one another about their feelings and misplaced guilt about the death of the teens' father many years earlier. Lori ultimately learns to be kinder to those she loves while Chuck finds salvation in art, gaining self-confidence and purpose. Their mother realizes she needs to share information about their father with her children. The novel's structure is interesting, alternating between third-person perspectives of Lori and Chuck interspersed with their mother's motivational speeches and her true feelings of powerlessness. The narrative voices are individually distinct and ring true for all three characters, none of whom is entirely blameless in the degeneration of their relationships. Haddix employs some effective imagery (Lori describes the three of them as "an island of silence"). Young teens will enjoy the generally melodramatic tone, finding satisfaction in the revelations that occur at the end.

B. Allison Gray, South Country Library, Bellport, NY

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

Margret is a great author, she's my favorite.
Andrew
If you can get them into reading it I think that tween and teen boys would really like this one.
Debra W. Herter
The ending does come a bit abruptly, but I was ready for it.
Laura Lynn Walsh

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Teen Reads on July 29, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Takeoffs and landings. I guess they're the best parts of going on a plane. Then again, I've been on so many flights that they all just meld together. This is not the case for Lori and Chuck Lawson, two teens stuck in Pickford County, Ohio. Neither has been on a plane, not once --- they've been living with their grandparents and siblings on the family farm ever since their father passed away. Widowed and without a profession or a degree, their mother Joan had to find a job to support her five children. She becomes a motivational speaker, traveling across the country to speak at conferences, and she is rarely home.

Lori is resentful of her mother's trips, always wishing that her mom was there for her, both physically and emotionally. Clumsy Chuck is busy struggling with teases and taunts from peers and constant nagging from his grandfather. The younger children don't remember a time when their mother was home for more than three weeks at a stretch.

When Joan decides to make up for her absences by taking Lori and Chuck with her on a trip across the country, what will happen? Relationships change and secrets are uncovered as Haddix reveals an aspect of the bond between mother and child that not many people understand. Can Joan Lawson ever make it up to her children?

The book is written from three different points of view: Lori's, Chuck's, and Joan's. Although each provides a different spin on the events in the novel, the constant change in speaker demands a lot of concentration. Haddix's idea is clever, but its execution is less so. The ending is predictable; there is no jolting surprise that makes you want to finish the book right at that very moment. On the positive side, however, the novel shows a family who struggles to overcome, which is very inspiring. Reading TAKEOFFS AND LANDINGS will make you feel good, even if you don't like to fly.

--- Reviewed by Lisa Marx
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By SZAA on August 30, 2007
Format: Paperback
Hmmm. Did I like this book? I'm still pondering that question more than 12 hours after completing it. Haddix put a lot of emotions and information into a relatively short book and though it was very compelling and well written, it just seemed a bit....jammed in there.

Takeoffs and Landings by one of my favorite youth writers, Margaret Peterson Haddix, is a book of intense family emotion. It is told by two siblings in alternating chapters. Chuck is the overweight, geeky older brother that we learn loves art, but is afraid to show that love. Lori is the self-obsessed younger sister that is completely into boys, friends, and parties, and definitely not into Chuck and his weirdness.

Their mother, a motivational speaker and very much resented by Lori, decides to take Chuck and Lori along for one of her 3 city tours in order for them to spend time together and possibly fix their straining relationship. Along the way, huge, emotion ridden fights ensue between Lori and her mom, while Chuck begins to find himself in art museums, hiding, yet learning and loving. By the end of the novel, the broken family almost seems fixed, which is a feat to do in only 201 pages.

Haddix has a magic about her that enables her to create real emotions in her characters that then feel real in her readers. She did that again in this book and I loved it, however I felt it was very rushed and somewhat strange that after all the intensity in hurt and anger that was portrayed only a few pages before, all is well at the end of the book. It needed a good 50-100 more pages to work out those family problems and make that part of the novel feel realistic to me.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A. Luciano VINE VOICE on February 2, 2007
Format: Paperback
Lori is fourteen and her brother Chuck is fifteen. When they were little they were best friends, but that was before their father died in a farm accidnet and everything went wrong. Chuck and Lori already had two younger brothers and when their father died their mother was expecting another baby. The whole family had to move in with the children's grandparents. Farming wasn't a bad life and the kids all love their grandparents, but Lori, especially, feels a lot of resentment toward her mother, who works as a motivational speaker to support the family. She is never home and over the years she has grown distant from her children.

Chuck and Lori have also grown apart. Chuck is clumsy and overweight and not good at school. Lori is quite the opposite, and the two of them haven't really spoken in years.

Now Lori and Chuck's mother has decided to bring the two of them with her while she tours some of the major cities in the country, giving motivational speeches. Lori is baffled by the invitation and at first is openly hostile toward her mother. But as they travel with her more and more, Chuck and Lori begin to see a bit of what her life is really like, and they begin to see what they can do to put their family back together again.

I liked to see how the individual characters grew over the course of this story, and how the family was able to start to heal after so many years of unhappiness and resentment.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I started this book assuming it would be about Lori. Surprisingly, I don't think it was. It was much more Chuck's story. And of course it was a story of Lori, her mom, and Chuck as a family as well. If you can get them into reading it I think that tween and teen boys would really like this one.
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More About the Author

I grew up on a farm outside Washington Court House, Ohio. As a kid, I liked to read a lot, and was also involved in 4-H, various bands and choirs (I played flute and piano), church youth group, the school newspaper, and a quiz-bowl type team. I was pretty disastrous as an athlete, although I did run track one year in high school. After graduating from Miami University (of Ohio), I worked as a newspaper copy editor in Fort Wayne, Indiana; a newspaper reporter in Indianapolis; and a part-time community college instructor and freelance writer in Danville, Illinois, before my first book was published. I've moved around a lot as an adult, having also lived in Luxembourg (during a college semester abroad) and in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania. Several years ago, I moved back to Ohio with my husband and kids; we now live in Columbus, Ohio. My husband trains investigative journalists, and my kids are in high school, so there's always a lot going on around our house.

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