4 out of 4 stars
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Schellville by Lawrence V. Drake is a part flying book full of adventures in the skies and a part something that is essentially a love story between an old-school aviator and his hippie flowerchild girlfriend from Hawaii. It takes the reader on a journey from the ashrams of India to the clouds over San Francisco Bay. The author of the book relives periods of his life where future was full of possibilities, every day brought forward new discoveries, emotions ran deep, and challenges were the spice of life.
He describes them all so vividly, old biplanes rumbling across the sky, pilots who were true aviators and adventurers, and explains how the love of flying could make men dream big and be brave enough to conquer their fears. This book has it all, adventure, danger, romance and events detailing real places and real people.
I must admit that I am a little bit in love with the author myself. Looking at the picture of Shakti and Larry together, you can see the youthful beauty and charm of them both and reading about the start of the romance at a much more simpler age, when there was less pretending and game playing, was even more enjoyable with the knowledge that they were real people.
However, their worldviews are truly very opposite, and they couldn’t come from more different families or backstories. Larry has the parents you can only dream of, his father is old-school American hero, who has always things under his control and comes with insightful and laid-back attitude towards life. His mother is a true lady with a warm heart. And the love they have for their son is so obvious and endearing, that you almost feel like you love and know them very well too. Shakti is from a broken family, with a fanatical father figure who easily succumbs to violent rages and sends his daughter off to India at tender age, to learn from a local questionable holy man and stay with his disciples. It’s well that Shanti has determination and luck at her side and she survives dangerous situation more than once and manages to escape from the confinement of religious powerplay.
Albeit very polar in their nature, those two just click from the start, and in my opinion, this is because at heart they are both just good people and that is what matters the most in the end.
I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars because this was truly wonderful read and I enjoyed tremendously the authors clear writing style that brought every memory alive. Everything from flying over the fields and barns, where hard work was done and breathing in the air from an open-cockpit small plane, to the inner thought process of a true gentleman, was concise, clear and vivid.
I recommend this book to everyone who loves autobiographies, flying, romance, adventures or to those that are just looking for a good book that might surprise them. The writer does such a good job, that you can almost smell the smells with him and feel the warm open air on your face, as he describes various locations all over the world, open hangars, plane runways and roads in the sky. It’s like a soothing graceful dance, when he takes you through the prepping for a takeoff with different check routines and traditional steps. And when things get scary, it plays like something out of an adventure film. As he tells it, there is very little room for error in flying. “There are old pilots, and there are bold pilots, but there are no old, bold pilots.”
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