Reeve Lindbergh's memoir offers a uniquely intimate portrait of her family led by her intensely private father, aviator Charles Lindbergh, and mother, writer Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Under a Wing
captures both her parents' complex personalities with immediacy and intimacy. Reeve explores the contrast between a loving father who "would parade imaginary animals across our backs" and the exacting patriarch who, upon return from his frequent absences, called each of his five children into his office to peruse a handwritten list of their achievements and failures. She seems anguished in her response to one of Charles's notorious, bigoted speeches: "How could someone who spoke the words my father did in 1941," she asks, "how did such a person then raise children who by his instruction and his example, day after day and year after year, had learned from him ... that such words were repellent and unspeakable?" She offers too a blunt but tender portrait of Anne in old age--she has been physically and mentally impaired by a series of stroke--that proves she has a mature understanding of a deeply loving woman who nonetheless always held some part of herself in reserve for her writing. This impressive memoir brings readers close to the private people within two legendary public figures.
From Publishers Weekly
Having already written about her family's life after Charles Lindbergh's death in the autobiographical novel The Names of the Mountains, Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh's youngest has written an evocative reminiscence of her youth in Darien, Conn., with her two famous parents. This gentle memoir shows a unique and uniquely poignant family life: "In our family it has always been hard to know what is right and what is wrong, in terms of what we can do for one another. It has been hard for us, too, to separate individual identity from family identity." The resulting publicity left their family with a fear of exposure. The author's father was always wary of what others could see?a cautiousness that extended to clothes, architecture and even the color of the family car. Although her father was constantly trying to shape and mold his children (no Wonder Bread, marshmallow fluff, grape jelly or candy was allowed at home and lectures and discussions were frequent), his widely perceived anti-Semitism ultimately hurt his family deeply. Anne Morrow Lindbergh emerges from this retrospective as a gentle, even ethereal, intellectual whose style was the polar opposite of her husband's. While the reader might like to know more about Reeve and her own family, instead, we are given an intimate look at other family members and at her parents' marriage. From an idyllic?if somewhat isolated?youth in Darien, to her father's death and her mother's mental deterioration, Reeve has watched and learned and shared with readers what she refers to as the living language of her parents' marriage.
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