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I Was Amelia Earhart: A Novel (Vintage Contemporaries) Library Binding – June 26, 2008

3.5 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews

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Library Binding, June 26, 2008
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In an evocative and imaginative novel, Amelia Earhart tells us what happened after she and her navigator, Fred Noonan, disappeared off the coast of New Guinea one windy day in 1937. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Past and present, fact and fiction, first-person and third blend into a life of the celebrated aviatrix-both before and after her famed disappearance in 1937, at age 39-that unfolds with the surreal precision of a dream and that marks first novelist Mendelsohn as a writer to watch. "The sky is flesh," begins the first of the scores of discrete vignettes and reflections that make up the narrative, an apt start to a story drenched in sensuality and the pursuit of it. The Earhart limned here is materialistic, glory-seeking, sexually hungry, outrageously self-absorbed and utterly charismatic. Telling her tale with ruthless honesty in both her own voice and that of the self she sees "from far away... ghostly, aerial," she speaks of her days as America's sweetheart, as the wife of publisher G.P. Putnam. Diverting from the historical record, she also speaks of the years after she and her navigator, Frederick J. Noonan, "a drunk," crash-land on a South Sea island that they name "Heaven, as a kind of joke," but that becomes a decent approximation as the years slip by and the castaways discover happiness in nature and in each other's arms. When rescue seems eminent, Earhart and Noonan take to the air one last time, and crash one last time, perhaps into eternity but in any case into an existence defined by not by control but by "abandonment"-a message in keeping with the story's theme but in fact an ironic one for a novel as calculatedly lovely and moving as this one.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Series: Vintage Contemporaries
  • Library Binding
  • Publisher: Paw Prints 2008-06-26; Reprint edition (June 26, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439508275
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439508275
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,802,552 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jane Mendelsohn is an American author. Her first novel was the critically acclaimed international bestseller I Was Amelia Earhart. Born and raised in New York City, she attended the Horace Mann School and Yale, where she was a Connecticut Student Poet and graduated summa cum laude. After attending Yale Law School for one year, she left to pursue writing. She began publishing literary reviews in the Village Voice in 1990. Since then, her reviews have appeared in The Guardian, the New York Times Book Review, The New Republic, The Yale Review, and the London Review of Books.

Her first novel, I Was Amelia Earhart, was published by Knopf in 1996 and became a New York Times best seller. It was translated into many languages and short-listed for the Orange Prize. Her second novel, Innocence, was published in 2000. It is being developed as a feature film by Killer Films. Her most recent book is American Music, published by Knopf to wide acclaim in the summer of 2010 and now out in paperback from Vintage.

She lives in New York City with her husband and daughters.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I came to this book full of the skepticism of someone who is sick of the media's deciding 'this is the book,' or 'this is the movie of the year.' What a surprise, therefore, to find that this book is not as good as they said -- it's BETTER. A compelling hybrid of Hemingway, Garcia Marquez, and Virgina Woolf, Mendelsohn really does deserve the praise she earned for this book -- and more. The mainstream press seems to have picked up on the Don Imus aspect of the success of the book -- and ignored the fact that it's beautifully, and brilliantly, written. And almost no one picked up on the book's exquisite irony, its dry wit, its utterly deadpan sense of humor. A really invigorating read, it makes me want to go back to college to take a course and discuss it further. It's that good. Of course the book's success may actually have hurt it in some ways (as some of the almost spiteful comments here indicate), made people fail to see the book on its own merits, but I have a feeling that her next book will more clearly establish Mendelsohn for what she is -- the writer of her generation -- and show that she is anything but a 'one-hit wonder.'
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Format: Hardcover
This is not the greatest novel ever written, nor does it ever pretend to be. However, it has been one of the very few contemporary stories that flirts with originality and exploits imagination.
I read this book on a long, long direct flight from New York to Tokyo a few months ago. Perhaps the way I read this book had alot to do with its impact on me. Had I read it on the ground I would have surely perceived it differently. I have always loved airplanes, I have always been in love with something and I have always, always (don't quite know why or how) been fascinated by the disappearance of this remarkable woman.
So take it on your next long flight. Pick a window seat and enjoy it. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in aviation, the vagueries of love and Amelia Earhart. I do not really see it as a novel, but it very well may be a profoundly eloquent, lengthy and enduring poem. One of the best in my recent memory.
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Format: Paperback
I like the beginning, it is very captivating... it is as if she is talking directly to me from after life... or I am dreaming about meeting her in the Heaven, and she is telling the story of the last day of her life....
For that, I think the switching back and forth between first and third person works for me. It gives the illusive feels to the story.
The idea of the story is interesting. Amelia Earhart's life after the crash is more alive than the one she lived before. I think the author established that in the first page of the book "...What I know is that the life I lived since I died feels more real to me than the one I lived before..." Her life before that, she was trap in a marriage without love; a union of business instead of love. All her life she has wanted to fly, to fly away from life...her wishes seems to be granted when she crashed onto the isolated island. She is living her life. And most of all, she may be in love for the first time...
In this novel, her life may have just begun when the rest of the world think it has ended.
In my opinion, part 1 is beautifully written; however in part 2 the writing and the structure turn flat, like diary entries that are written quickly just to jot down the events, so that you'll remembered in the future. I find myself flip through the pages impatiently want to get to the end.
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By A Customer on July 21, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is a tale of sadness and grandeur. A tale improbable and yet terrifyingly possible. Amelia Earhart is an unhappily married, misunderstood, generally dissatisfied woman whose only true joy comes from flying. In the sky she is alone and she is free. But even her flying can be overshadowed by her greedy, unsympathetic husband, who is also her manager. She has never related well to men, or to anyone, for that matter. Since childhood, she has admired lengendary lone women, the martyrs, the pioneers. And she became one. The book devotes much attention to the days before she embarks on her celebrated round-the-world flight. Her outlook on the world, and on herself, is shared with us intimately. We come to know those whom she trusts, and those whom she doesn't. We learn the technical details of her flight, and of catastrophic mistakes made in her preparations. We are with her in the cockpit, at 5:56am, as she takes off from Florida. And then she is lost. Her life on the deserted, uncharted atoll is a piercing psychological portrayal. Her ruminations are barbed, comical, and eloquent. Her survival of the crash is both miraculous and cursed. Her navigator, Fred Noonan, has also survived the crash. She never thought too highly of him to begin with, and now he has become her Adam in a South Pacific Garden of Eden. They are not very compatible. All they share is their flight experience, and their fate. But maybe that's enough. Yes, a love grows between them, a love of thorns and petals, of alternating silences and verbosity, of hostility and tenderness. Mendelsohn paints not an idyllic island existence, but an honest one, with a rapture and a wretchedness few of us will ever know. But above all that, Mendelsohn writes a love story which resonates.
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