Sometimes it sucks to be the wife

The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin
3 words: biographical, personal, lyrical
Since I went through a spree of reading everything Anne Morrow Lindbergh ever published (except that horrid-sounding thing, The Wave of the Future) I approached this fictional account of her life with a wary eye. There are so many ways a novelist can get it wrong.
(photo: courtesy of the Library of Congress)
But Melanie Benjamin has seriously impressed me here.
Yes, this is a work of fiction, but yes, she has done the research and I feel like
she’s speaking in Anne’s voice in this book. That’s high praise from an AML
The thing I didn’t expect was to come away from this book detesting Charles
Sure, I already had pushed away from him once I learned of his anti-Semitic speeches in the pre-WWII years. And then there were those other families of children he fathered. Dude had some serious flaws. And big, unpardonable ones, too.
But this book put venom in my fangs.
I think it’s because fiction did that thing it goes so well: it made things more
immediate, more personal, more felt. Even AML’s diaries and letters, which were edited before publication (by both AML and her husband) keep her at a greater distance.
So: this book surprised me with the depth and honesty of its characterization, and by the loveliness of the writing. I went in, expecting to emerge partway through, shaking my head. Instead, I was sorry when it ended, and I’m shaking my head in admiration.

3 thoughts on “Sometimes it sucks to be the wife

  1. I've long been a fan of Anne Morrow Lindbergh…I've read all her diaries and love her book Gift From the Sea (which is a great beach read!) I'm intrigued by this book. Thanks for the review!

  2. Pingback: The best fictionalized autobiographies by women |

Comments are closed.