Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith

I picked this book off of the fourteen-day shelf at my library for no particular reason, much as I choose most of my library books. This grab-a-random-book method tends to work surprisingly well, and it turned out well with Flygirl.

Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith is the story of small-town girl Ida Mae Jones, a light-skinned black girl who enters the Women Airforce Service Pilots, or WASP, by pretending to be white. The book takes place during World War II, and Ms. Smith has evidently done her research. Flygirl is not completely based on actual people and events--many of the main characters never existed--but still manages to convey historical accuracy while telling a captivating story.

My favorite thing about Flygirl has to be Ida Mae (or Jonesy, as one character calls her), the main character. She is spunky, passionate, complex, and one of those characters whom one would very much like to befriend. Ida Mae is also very relatable, even for a white 21st century girl like me. In fact, I was on the verge of tying my own "worry knot" for Ida Mae every time she worried about being discovered as black.

I don't want to say too much about the actual plot of the book, as I'm not keen to write spoilers, but suffice it to say that Flygirl is a wonderful book. Ida Mae Jones seems like a real person whom I might meet if I happened to own a working time machine. I will read Flygirl again, and again, and probably again, though I may have trouble returning it within fourteen days.

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