I have never ever wanted to learn to fly, yet Sheri L. Smith‘s Flygirl almost had me calling up flight schools.1 Ida Mae Jones lives to fly. So much so that she passes as a white woman in order to become a WASP during World War II. The book is about race, class, gender, about friendship, obsession (for flying), love, and family.
Cut for mild spoilerage:
Because Flygirl is about someone passing even it’s quieter moments are tense: there’s always the fear of discovery. What will happen to Ida Mae if she’s discovered passing in Texas in the 1940s? Nothing good. The passing narrative means that this beautiful book is also a thriller.
It’s a book where female friendship is upfront and centre, which always makes me happy. The portrayal of the growing bonds between of Ida Mae, Patsy and Lily is joyous and believable and strong.
Most of all I love Ida Mae. I am suffering from a MAJOR character crush. I cried at the end just because the book was over. I wanted the book to be about ten times as long so it could follow Ida Mae’s life until she dies. I rarely feel that way about books. I’m not a demander of sequels. But this time I’d like at least ten more books about Ida Mae Jones.
Run out and grab this book right now. Then hurry back here I want to talk to other peoples about it.
I am on an incredible winning streak with books at the moment.2 I also just finished Black Water Rising by Attica Locke which is a very impressive crime debut. Also highly recommended.
Updated: If you want to stay unspoiled be careful reading the comments.