Book #71 is complete! I read The Art of Crash Landing by Melissa DeCarlo. You know when you finish a really incredible book, then pick up the next book you’re going to read and find it hard to be enthusiastic about?
This book was off to a slower start, I think only because I wasn’t quite over Station Eleven and how much I loved that book right away. The Art of Crash Landing was a little fluffy, like something I’d maybe buy at an airport bookstore if I forgot a book for a flight and if Borders still existed in airports… which begs the question: why did I buy it in the first place? Because there was a “Buy 3 for $25” sale going on at the HarperCollins tent at the Brooklyn Book Fest, and I had taken my time picking two books, but finally the crush of the bookish crowd behind me trying to see this sale table became too much so I panicked and this one became my third. The cover is really cool, in my defense.
It ended up being much better than I originally thought it’d be, so that was a nice surprise. The book is about a dysfunctional 30-year-old woman named Mattie Wallace. After deserting yet another failed relationship, Mattie decides to finally acknowledge the several missed calls she’s received from a lawyer in her mother’s hometown, thinking there might be an inheritance involved, something that she could use as she’s out of a steady job.
Mattie’s mother, Genie, was an alcoholic who was overly guarded about her past for reasons that neither Mattie nor her stepfather knew. So when Mattie returns to her mother’s hometown, it’s half because she’s out of options but also half to learn more about this mysterious and equally flaky woman who raised her.
Thus begins this funny journey to self-discovery through unveiling her mother’s past and meeting members of this small town with more stories to tell that Mattie was prepared to hear. There are also some mysteries surrounding the circumstances of Genie’s death – mysteries to the reader, at least – and those are revealed cleverly through a non-linear timeline.
So the book was fluffy, yes, but also relatable and enjoyable. Mattie is a selfish, lighthearted, crass narrator so she offered funny perspectives while struggling with the role she played in her mother’s death and just generally finding her place in life.
I also enjoyed the small-town elements; it didn’t exactly remind me of where I grew up because Cedar Rapids is one of Iowa’s larger cities, but there was still that element of knowing of people and families that I’ve been missing a bit.
So this book didn’t blow me away, but it was touching and did incorporate important life lessons about family and love and forgiveness, and those are always good things to read about. ◊
I don’t know what she thinks a Matilda looks like, but I’ve always thought that I look a little like Gene Wilder, except with longer hair and a vagina.”