When She Flew, by Jennie Shortridge ~ Book Review & Giveaway

When She Flew, by Jennie ShortridgeEver since the untimely death of her police officer father, Jessica Villareal has known that she too would be a police officer when she grew up.  Dedicated to her job and especially to protecting children from predators, Jess hasn’t always been as attentive to her daughter Nina as she has needed to be since she was essentially always on the job.

Nina becomes pregnant as a teenager and leaves Jess to live with her alcoholic father, Jess is left to ponder the decisions and choices that she has made with regard to her daughter, and in her present struggles to be apart of her life and the life of her three-year-old- grandson Teo.

When Lindy and her father Ray, a troubled Iraq war veteran, are found to be living in the woods, Jess makes sure to be assigned to the team to bring them into police custody.  Acting on a feeling that even she doesn’t understand, she only knows that she will do anything to protect and lookout for Lindy, even if the cost is her career and the vestiges of family that she has left.

This is one of those books that you pick up and don’t put down until you finish. Simply written and emotionally astute, When She Flew got me involved with these characters and wanting to see what was coming next.  Jess is wonderfully human, and though she strives to be good person you don’t always agree with her thinking and the choices where her thoughts ultimately lead her.  I thought she made a more than one bonehead move, and you can see that her over investment  in her job has caused problems with her family.

Fully fleshed out with all of the little things that can run through a woman’s mind through the day, Jess’s thoughts often went from job issues, to her weight, dating, and her options and failures as a parent.  It was easy to admire her confidence on the job but to also cringe as she bungled interactions with both her daughter and her mother.

Ray and Lindy were a touching mother and father duo.  Shortridge paints a perfect picture of what drives this man to make the choices that he does in living off the grid with his daughter, and details their day-to-day activities so that you can see just how they were able to live and manage going to church every Sunday.  Lindy can be very naive but at the same time she is well educated and adult beyond her years. None of the characters were portrayed in black and white and it was very hard to make any decisions about what anyone should have done. I think Lindy was very wise to note at one point that she had done something and the consequences were both good and bad.

I started and finished this book in one day.  I love the way that Shortridge rendered the morally complex issues of parental vs government responsibility in a child’s life and what constitutes a good parent and a suitable home, while also delicately touching upon issues of child abuse and the mental and physical health of soldiers returning and what they face returning home from war. I also enjoyed observing the way that the different characters used or rejected faith and personal symbols for guidance in their lives and decision making.  There aren’t any easy solutions for the characters portrayed in this thoughtful novel and I am still thinking about the issues explored here.


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Please leave a comment telling me how long you think you would last living off the grid.  What would you miss or not miss?  I’ll draw and e-mail a winner on Wednesday, December 16, 2009.

FTC Disclosure – I am an Amazon Associate. Review copy provided by the publisher via TLC Book Tours.

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  1. I have in the past led a simpler life than I do now, no TV or gadgets, and few new clothes. Life is a lot easier in itself but it can be difficult interacting with the outside world when your only shoes are work shoes and you have no way to iron your clothes.
    I wouldn’t mind preparing my own food but you would have a very limited diet unless you had some money or a system of barter/exchange.
    As a parent my greatest worry would be medical care for my children. Without a phone or a car what would I do in an emergency?

    Definitely a thought provoking subject

    PS You didn’t state whether this is international or not so take me out of the draw if it is restricted to the US.

  2. I’m not sure I could survive living off the grid. I like everything to be handy and I would hate to be without my computer!

    Loved Shortridge’s “Eating Heaven” so I can’t wait for this one. Thanks for the giveaway.

    .-= Lisa´s last blog .. =-.

  3. This is one I want to read for sure! I can’t remember which of the other bloggers mentioned that this was based loosely on a news story in Oregon about a Vietnam vet and his daughter living in the woods? Anyway the fact that the story’s premise came from something that actually happened made the book even more intriguing to me!
    .-= Kathleen´s last blog ..Sunday Salon: Wow, What a Week! =-.

  4. I wouldn’t live long, I can tell you that much. My idea of camping is a 3 star hotel. Julie sent me her copy of this book and I can’t wait to read it.
    .-= Kathy´s last blog ..Mailbox Monday =-.

  5. I’d love to read this one. I’d have trouble living off the grid. I’d manage with my books and knitting.. but I wouldn’t like it.

  6. I doubt I could make it a month. I’d miss my family. And the internet.
    .-= J.T. Oldfield´s last blog ..Featured Video of the Week =-.

  7. Living off the grid would be tough. Of course that’s probably more true is I knew it was just an experiment. If it was a new way of life, I honestly don’t know that I could do it. I’m saying this as if it was an actual possibility given my life today. Too many health issues, too much reliance on doctors, medication etc., etc. makes it virtually an impossibility. But just for fun, I think for a week or so it would be kind of fun, and interesting challenge But I think after the fun was over, I could do it for a few months, at least. I watch a lot of cop shows and shows about actual crimes and the resulting investigation and have gleaned a lot of tips, advice and knowledge on how to evade people and law enforcement and understand how to make myself “invisible”.. I would definitely miss relationships with friends and family, as well as just the security of an average life with a regular paycheck and a daily routine.

    Great review, Nicole. This book sounds captivating.
    Please enter me in your giveaway!

    Aimala127 AT gmail DOT com
    .-= Amy´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday 12.09.09 =-.

  8. I think that living off the grid would be the most difficult thing to do but if it was something that I had to do to protect my family, I think I would do it anyway that I possibly could.

  9. I probably wouldn’t last a day living of the grid. I’d miss everything, my family, my home, a warm bed and good food. I would never make it. Please enter me. Thanks!


  10. I’d never survive off the grid. However, I’d probably be able to read the books overflowing in my bookcase without the darn computer!

    Thanks for the giveaway >^..^<

  11. I feel like I could live off the grid for an undetermined amount of time.

    This book sounds so interesting

  12. I would love to read this. I couldn’t live off the grid very long! I’d miss TV, computer and all my household conveniences in the kitchen.

  13. Although I would like to think that I could live off the grid for quite a long time I don’t think I could last very long at all. this book sounds wonderful and i would like to be entered. Thanks1

  14. I am too addicted to my laptop and Bberry to last very long “off the grid”. With that said, I do sometimes reach a point where I shut down everything and take a few days break from all the gadgets. In fact, one of my goals for 2010 is to watch much less TV and perhaps even give it up entirely. It’s amazing how much time I can lose in front of the tube mindlessly channel surfing! Imagine how many books I could read without all the gadgets cluttering my life!

    I read Eating Heaven a few months ago and loved it so I am very much looking forward to reading this one. The reviews have been great. Thanks for sponsoring this giveaway!
    .-= Colleen ´s last blog ..Teaser Tuesday =-.

  15. I’d like to read this one, looks interesting.
    I’d have a problem living off the grid….especially with a daughter living out of town. And…I am always up extremely early, and that is my favorite time to be online.

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