Saturday, January 15, 2011

My Take On: Flight #116 Is Down by Caroline B. Cooney

Teenager Heidi Landseth helps rescue people from a plane crash on her family's property, and the experience changes her life forever.

Just as the synopsis is brief, so too will my review be.

"There is no such thing as time... man invented it, but pain and fear are not acquainted with it,"1 though, Caroline B. Cooney proves that she is the master of it. This book is an old fall back for me because no matter how many times I read it, it still excites me, still gets the old juices flowing.
The story follows several characters' perspectives in a minute-by-minute, blow-by-blow writing style that lets you see the full scope of the event and feel a range of emotions. The change from calm to chaos to yet more chaos might seem a bit jarring to some, but that was the point. I enjoyed the stark difference between the nothingness of the families' breathless wait in the airport to the hellish havoc of the Dove House Crash2.
The story focuses on Heidi, an undervalued rich kid who happens to have a plane crash in her on her estate; Patrick, a junior EMT who longs for something, anything, to happen in his small town so he can really test his merit; Carly, a teenaged passenger on board the flight who wants nothing more than to go home and be reunited her with her twin after having run away; and Daniel, another teen passenger who, along with his younger brother, is going to his father's second wedding against his will. The story follows several other characters, but these are the main narrators.
In the space of one night, all of their lives are changed, some ended, by this one event. And we have a front row seat to the excitement! And I'm not being morbid; what really makes me love this book is the heroic, Good Samaritan nature of it. Everyone who showed up on the scene, and everyone showed up, had so much love to give. That was the point that Cooney returned to again and again: Love. Not everyone was a saint, and not everyone had a lot to contribute, but everyone did give, even if all they could do was brew coffee or hold a hand. And so many of the amazingly real, down to earth characters had a lot more than they could have conceived to give. take Heidi for instance; her parents have no pride in her and she feels that she is pretty near useless, but she rises to the occasion so well and keeps her head on her shoulders. She saves lives and makes friends and grows a sense of value in herself that she hadn't had before.
Okay, before I go on too much longer--I give this book...
...five zombies!
So my review wasn't as brief as I first intended, but it's not War and Peace long, so I'm pleased.

Happy reading, cheerio, and God bless you all,

1.  Quote taken from page 124.
2.  Heidi's century-old, palatial home was called Dove House because it looked a like a ginormous English dovecote. So, plane crash + Dove House = Dove House Crash. Heidi was not happy about this development.

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