4 out of 4 stars
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Maddy is a former WWII pilot who has lived long enough to narrate the stories of WWII which she took part in. She recounts the stories to her son-in-law together with her new neighbors, Gloria and her granddaughter, Lizzy. Maddy's Wings by Jan Porte is a novel categorized under the genre other fiction. The reader gets a clear understanding of the dangers and atrocities the world faced then.
Maddy's husband, Gordon, aging with visible wrinkles, is suffering from cancer which has taken its toll on his body, not forgetting the Alzheimer's disease. His post War thoughts of things he should have done right or should not have done at all, including the disappearance of Pastor Jacob which he thinks he had a hand in, are quite traumatizing. While Maddy is constantly by his side offering all help, she cannot help thinking how life will be without Gordon.
Twenty years after her husband's death, Maddy finds herself facing close to similar problems especially when the Alzheimer's disease set in. When her doctor suggests her transfer to the nursing home for the elderly, Maddy finds herself fighting heard to avoid the transfer with the help of her son-in-law and only surviving relative, Robert. Her condition worsens when she starts having thoughts of how she could have protected her sister, Rosie, from Pastor Jacob's assault, and how she caused the plane crash that killed both her crews. On the other hand, her assigned care-worker, Gretchen, has selfish desires and would not rest till she has Maddy transferred to the nursing home.
Apart from giving an account of WWII, this book is an encouragement to all women. It shows that any woman can excel in a male-dominated field. It is easier today to recognize and award a woman's effort when she succeeds than before. Even though Maddy crush landed her plane on water surviving the incident, the only award she receives is "You did a helluva job landing that aircraft on water. If you were not civil service, you would be commended." If it were today, journalists would be killing one another for the best shot.
The author did not want the reader to dwell entirely on War atrocities but brought in the themes of family, integrity, and traditions. What I liked most about the book is the storytelling scenes with Maddy, Gloria, Lizzy, and Robert sitting outside at the fireplace. I loved how Maddy was keen to dissipate all information from her childhood. "Never grow up so much that you lose your child-like wonder." I found this headline fitting quite well with Maddy's character. Storytellers like Maddy are hard to find today especially with scenes from the fireplace.
The errors in the book were non-significant and could not deter my reading, therefore, I award it 4 out of 4 stars. The writing style and character development are also great, especially in the dialogues Maddy holds with other characters. I recommend this book to historians and documentarians. However, owing to the presence of strong language, the book is not good for young readers.
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