Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin

I was lucky enough to receive an advance reader's edition of this novel through Goodreads Firstreads.

The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin is a novel very loosely based on the life of Anne Lindbergh, wife of the famous aviator Charles Lindbergh.

This insomniac's opinion:

I found this book to be incredibly fascinating. Although I realize that this book is fiction, it was fun to get an inside peek at the lives of the infamous Lindbergh family. They certainly lived a life that was out of the ordinary!

Before reading this book, I admit that I had never given much thought to Anne Lindbergh, other than a compassionate tug of my heartstrings whenever I imagined the kidnapping and murder of her son, Charles, Jr. I was surprised to find that Anne was an aviator herself and that she accompanied her husband on nearly all of his flights after their marriage. I have to say, though, as fascinating of a character as Anne was in this novel- I did not like her. She was a very clinical, detached mother and I found it impossible to like a woman that would parent like this. They followed the Watson method of parenting. Gag! Boo! Hiss! Look it up, my friends, it was a real freaking method of parenting. This douche bag, John B. Watson, wrote a book called Psychological Care of the Infant and Child in 1928. This (insert your favorite expletive here) book championed a businesslike and casual relationship between the mother and child. The infant was not to be held or given any affection. He also thought that human beings should stop procreating for twenty years or so until he could come up with a perfect method of child rearing. Again, what a douche bag! Okay, that's enough of this Watson character. But, Anne, at Charles' suggestion, followed this method. Their first child, Charles Jr. was raised according to this method. Anne also spent most of her time traveling with her husband and little at home. So poor Charles Jr.(Charlie) gets to be raised by nannies while Mom and Dad have a gay old time traveling the world. Ugh.

I almost held my breathe reading the section about Charlie's kidnapping and death. Really, I had to remind myself to breathe. Every mother's worst nightmare come true, and knowing this was based on truth was almost too much to bear. Anne's grief almost had me liking her character-almost. The remainder of the book after the kidnapping mostly deals with the family's struggle for any kind of normalcy following the loss of Charlie.

This book really was an interesting glimpse into the lives of truly unforgettable characters. And, while I did not like the characters of Anne or Charles, I found myself cheering for them and wanting them to find a better life for their family. I did really enjoy the book.

Worth staying up all night to read?

This is definitely worth reading, but you may not need to stay up all night to finish it. After all, this is based on a true story- you already know what is going to happen!

Rating: 4 stars

Want to add it to your Goodreads shelf?


  1. I've seen this book on goodreads and I have been debating about reading it. I will have to add it to my TBR pile now. Loved your review!