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Friday, July 26, 2013

Taking Flight by Sarah Solmonson

Hi there!
Welcome back to the place that aims to please the reader in you, no matter the genre you choose, Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.

Today, we're featuring a non-fiction title that not only serves as a memorial of sorts to a father lost all too soon, but as a means of finding one's way after tragedy changes the rules of the game and refuses to share how to play.  It's not a tear jerker in the traditional sense but it will play on the strings of your heart.  Without further ado, today's book of choice is....


About the book...
For the next thirty minutes I was untouchable in my joy. The sky was clear, the sun already tempting me to spend another day at the beach. I had my best friend by my side and a boy who loved me. It was about this same time that you were inching down the runway, lifting off the ground for one of the hundreds of take-offs the FAA required your experimental aircraft to make before you could expand the distance you were permitted to fly.
It was about this time that everything changed...
David Norton lived for two things: family and flying. With the help of his wife, Jan (self appointed parts manager) and teenage daughter, Sarah (lifelong co-pilot), David worked for six years building his very own airplane in his basement workshop. His dream became a reality in the spring of 2000 when N256DN took its first flight.
Three months later, David was performing a routine take-off when a fluke change in wind brought his plane down. David was killed instantly. Jan and Sarah were thrown into a whirlwind of grief and depression that nearly destroyed the family David so dearly loved.
I was unhealthy in every way a person could be, intensified by the fact that I kept pretending to be fine. Or doing my best to pretend, to fit into who I was before. I cared about nothing but went through the daily motions of school, homework, and hanging out with friends, as though these were still the most important parts of my life. I felt like I was outside of my own body most of the time, watching from the sidelines as Sarah smiled.
Now a grown woman with a family and dreams of her own, Sarah looks back on the depression and darkness of teenage grief and the unthinkable transformation of her family following her father's death. Taking Flight is a journey through loss, a story of love, and a lesson in following your dreams - no matter what the cost. 

Though the book as a whole takes place in the past (as most memoirs/bio's do), it flips between events as they unfolded that fateful day and those that were to follow both expected and non.  The reactions of family members was heart breaking and not simply because they had all lost someone near and dear to them.  No, the fact that the father's "blood" relatives basically cut his daughter and wife out when they needed their support the most was atrociously.  I know every deals with grief differently but it usually passes after a time and is selective in the members it affects.  Here, not so much.  I wanted to reach out my hand in a show of support or my arms for a comforting hug just for them to get some sort of compassion, some understanding that it's a change that affects the rest of their lives and is not something so easily gotten over...nor was it their fault.  I never did understand the blame that some families place on each other in instances such as this.  Is it not enough that the person is gone?  Is it not enough that hearts are breaking and in need of love to bind them instead of hatred to shatter them further?  *sigh*  Anywho...

Ms. Solmonson does a wonderful job in letting us in behind the curtain of what's presented to the public to see just how she felt going through these tragic times.  Young or old, there is never a good time to lose someone but being a teen certainly didn't help matters.  You've got enough going on in your own life that any additional pain or pressure can be the straw that broke the camel's back.  According to her account, she did hit rock bottom a view times, losing most everyone that she cared about or for by some means or another but she came out stronger for it in the end.  No, she's not miss-sunshine-and-roses able to see rainbows where only rain clouds seem present, but she can revisit the events with an open heart, less blame to place, less negative feelings to take away from the memory of a father she cherished and more love to share with those that really matter in her here and now.

Recommended read for fans of the Non-Fiction genre as well as those dealing with grief (in its many forms), but perhaps especially those teenagers that have been touched by tragedies such as this.  It shows that things will be alright in the end even when the in-between seems so far off the charts.  This is one co-pilot that set her course for brighter skies and though it took time and support, she found her way.  You will too...just believe. After all, as her father said..."Everybody should have a dream."

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About the author...

Sarah Solmonson was raised in Lake Sherwood, Missouri, forty miles away from civilization. She spent her early years writing books in crayon and fondly considers “My Daddy’s Airplane” (1991) to be her first draft of her debut novel, Taking Flight.

Sarah moved to Minnesota in 1994 where she has had ample opportunity to read and write during the long winter months. She graduated with honors from Augsburg College in 2010 with her B.A. in English Literature, Language and Theory. Sarah writes memoirs, self-help books and fiction novels.

When Sarah isn’t writing or reading she can be found getting her groove on in the dance studio, nannying for two brilliant children, enthusiastically eating quesadillas, and watching scary movies with her husband and two dogs.


Signed review copy courtesy of author Sarah Solmonson.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this title as well as the author's current undertakings, family and more, feel free to visit her site, like her on Facebook, or follow along on Twitter.

Until next time...happy reading!


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