When She Flew

When She Flew

by Jennie Shortridge

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Overview

A new novel about faith, family, and finding the courage to do the right thing from the author of Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe.

Police officer Jessica Villareal has always played by the book and tried to do the right thing. But now, she finds herself approaching midlife divorced, estranged from her daughter, alone, and unhappy. And she’s wondering if she ever made a right choice in her life.

But then Jess discovers a girl and her father living off the radar in the Oregon woods, avoiding the comforts—and curses—of modern life. Her colleagues on the force are determined to uproot and separate them, but Jess knows the damage of losing those you love. She recognizes her chance to make a difference by doing something she’s never dared. Because even though she’s used to playing by the rules, there are times when they need to be broken…

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780451227980
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/03/2009
Edition description: Original
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 1,012,532
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 17 Years

About the Author

Jennie Shortridge lives in Seattle, WA with her husband, and juggles her time between writing novels and working in the community to foster literacy.

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When She Flew 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
BusyBookworm on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When She Flew is a story of a somewhat emotionally broken police officer who discovers a little girl, Lindy, who has been living in the woods with her Iraq-veteran father for several years. Upon discovering the small, transient family, Officer Villareal has to decide whether to tear them apart for the sake of "following the rules" or defy her superiors and the regulations of the state in order to keep the girl with her father. When She Flew tells dual tales: that of Officer Villareal as she copes with the outcome of the choice that she made and Lindy and her father as they try desperately to stay together amidst media scrutiny and the suspicion of the rest of the world.The beginning of this book was a bit slow and drawn out, but around the middle of the book the action begins to pick up and the story gets more interesting. Much of the plot is predictable; there are no real surprises or twists. But the story is enjoyable and the subject matter is rather interesting. The book does a good job of exploring social norms and raising the question as to whether such norms are necessarily "right." The circumstances of Lindy and her father certainly raise interesting issues regarding the child welfare system in this country and whether it may do more harm than good in certain situations. When She Flew would be an excellent choice for reading groups who are seeking a spirited and stimulating discussion/debate.Overall, When She Flew was an interesting and fairly well-written novel. It was a quick read after the first few chapters and it raises thought-provoking issues. I would recommend this book for those who like contemporary fiction (although the author was inspired by true events, which is even more interesting) and especially for reading groups who like a lively discussion.
Heatherlee1229 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I may have a bit of bias here, since I was already a fan of Jennie Shortridge before picking up When She Flew, but let me just say that this book was pretty wonderful. I definitely expected something great after loving Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe, and I was not at all disappointed.Let¿s start with Jess. She was such a perfect character, in that she was just so real. She had always done what was expected of her, was always selfless so that her daughter could have the best life she was able to give her, and by the time she was in her thirties, she was beginning to realize that maybe her some of those selfless decisions backfired on her over the years. Her own daughter couldn¿t see how much she loved her, choosing to live with Jess¿s ex-husband after giving birth to her son at sixteen, effectively cutting Jess out from her grandson¿s life. This part of the story really just broke my heart. It was so clear to me how much Jess had sacrificed for Nina, yet Nina mostly acted like a spoiled child and was blind to her mother¿s love. Throughout the book, more was revealed about their relationship that made it a little easier to understand why Nina was so angry with Jess, but I was still so upset by the fact that Nina was so immature about everything. Reading about all these hardships in Jessica¿s life just made me all the more proud when she discovered Lindy and Ray and made the decisions she did about them later on in the story.I loved the way Jennie Shortridge chose to tell this story, switching between third person POV for Jessica and first person POV for Lindy. Hearing from Lindy really helped me get more invested in the story and caused me to root for her and her father to be allowed to stay together in the end. Lindy was such a great character too, so mature and independent for her age, yet so dependent on her father, the only person in the world who she truly loved and trusted. She was incredibly self-sufficient but also couldn¿t bear to be away from Ray for more than a few minutes, not only for herself but also because she was trying to protect him.The subject matter in When She Flew really gave me a lot of food for thought. In this day and age, it¿s easy to think that it wouldn¿t be possible to live off the land, with all the modern conveniences that the world has to offer us and that we feel are necessary to our lives, but the true story that Ray and Lindy were based off of tells us that simply isn¿t true. For some people, nature and solitude are preferable to living surrounded by other people, and who are we to judge them if that¿s a choice they¿ve made? It gets interesting when there¿s a child in the mix, when someone is raising a child in such ¿primitive¿ conditions, but in the case of Ray and Lindy, she was intelligent, clean, and obviously well cared for. This situation really made me think about our role, as a society, in determining how people should or shouldn¿t raise their kids. Apparently it¿s illegal to raise a child in this way, but should it be? If a child is loved and provided for, safe in every measurable way, and generally happy with life, isn¿t a parent doing his or her job just fine? And why would we want to take a kid away from his or her parent(s) when this is the case? When She Flew definitely poses an answer to this question, and I agree with where the book went with the story, but I have to admit that I thought about a lot while reading this book that I¿d never taken the time to consider before.As you can see, I really loved When She Flew and would highly recommend the novel. I found it just about impossible to put down, it drew me in from the beginning and really never let go. I¿m happy to say that Jennie Shortridge not only lived up to my expectations with this read, she defied them by writing a book even better than what I¿ve read from her in the past. I plan to read the rest of her novels in the near future and I¿ll be eagerly anticipating her next publication.
walterqchocobo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book came to me via Early Reviewers on LibraryThing. I finished the book in two days. Upon reflection, it was a good book, just not great. The story focuses on police officer Jessica Villareal who finds an Iraq war veteran and his daughter living in the Oregon woods. The other officers in the group want to bring DHS into the picture. Jess, who normally follows the rules, decides to try to help this family out. The story didn't blow me away but it moves very fast and the characters felt real. The only thing that bugged me a little bit was that the Iraq war veteran aspect was barely mentioned. I thought that it could have been explored a bit more
voracious on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Jennie Shortridge's new novel, When She Flew, is a fictional account of a real life father and daughter, who in 2004, were found living in the woods outside of Portland, Oregon. This Vietnam vet and his teenaged daughter had been living there for years before they were discovered. "When She Flew" takes this scenereo and explores it further from the perspective of a female police officer involved in their discovery and the daughter (Lindy) who lived in the woods. The discovery of the family is the starting point for rippling changes in both characters' families. Jess (officer) struggles with the decisions she made in rearing her own daughter while trying to help Lindy, as the police order Jess to separate Lindy from her father and place the girl in foster care. Faced with this ethical dilemna, Jess makes an unexpected and unplanned choice, culminating in a chaotic turn of events. This book was a faster paced story than Shortridge's other novels and I mostly enjoyed it. I was on the edge of my seat and anxious wondering what Jess would do and what that would mean for the very endearing character of Lindy. I would have liked to have seen more closure in the relationships at the end, but otherwise, I enjoyed this book, which explored the conflictual and complicated relationships between mothers and daughters and society and the homeless.
Florinda on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Actual events inspired Jennie Shortridge's newest novel, her fourth, and provide the base for a moving and suspenseful story that explores family relationships, moral choices, and social responsibility.Police officer Jess Villareal's dedication to her job is one of the factors in her strained relationship with her daughter Nina, and her relationship issues sometimes influence how she does her job. When her department forms a team to look for a young girl spotted in the woods - possibly a runaway, possibly kidnapped - Jess' maternal instincts drive her to ask for the assignment. They do find the girl, Lindy, along with her father, Ray; they've been living on their own in the woods for months, ever since Ray returned from military service in Iraq and took Lindy away from her meth-addicted mother, leaving Colorado for a promised job in Oregon. The job falls through due to Ray's physical and psychological injuries, leaving him and his daughter homeless and getting by on $400 per month from the VA.Although Lindy seems to be well-cared-for, considering the circumstances, the police team has to consider their social and legal obligation, which requires getting the social-services system involved. Jess doesn't agree that separating father and daughter is the right thing to do, and while she states her agreement with the team decision, she feels compelled to act differently. She's well aware that following that compulsion could jeopardize her career, but doesn't have a sense of how it might affect the rest of her life as well.The characters and circumstances of Lindy and Ray were inspired by a Vietnam vet and his young daughter found living in a forest park near Portland in 2004. Jennie Shortridge explores what their lives might have been like through chapters in Lindy's own first-person perspective, which alternate with third-person narration centered on Jess. I thought that the presentation of a complex situation from the two viewpoints was particularly effective, and the anxiety that situation provoked kept me eagerly reading, but it was the characters themselves that really made it work for me. I felt for Lindy - a strangely sheltered child in some ways, mature well beyond her years in others - but I really cared about Jess. She's a self-doubting, hard-working single parent who takes a lot to heart, and while I may have questioned her choices, I really wanted things to work out for her.When She Flew was a fast read, but not a particularly light one; by way of its compelling characters, it touches on some important questions.
motivatedmomma on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"When She Flew" by Jennie Shortridge starts out with an interesting premise-- Would you separate a family because it doesn't represent what society thinks is normal? Jessica Villareal, the main character, a police officer and single mom , has to answer this question and in turn examine her own life in the process. While searching for a girl seen in the woods of a bird sanctuary, Jess stumbles upon an Iraqi War vet and his daughter that has been happily living in the woods of Oregon. What she does next contradicts police protocol.I really loved the idea of this book and felt that Shortridge could have developed her characters even further. What really happend to the father to make him give up on society? The mother of the homeless family returns in the middle of the story and then this doesn't get developed further. IThe budding relatioship between Officer Villareal and a fellow officer could have been developed further. While I found this book enjoyable, I wanted to find out more about these characters than Jennie Shortridge delivers.
maryintexas39 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When She Flew, by Jennie Shortridge is a very lyrical read. This was my first introduction to this author and I was wonderfully surprised. This book is about finding home, motherhood, daughters, and relationships. Ray, and Iraq vet and his daughter Lindy live on the fringes of society. They have a loving relationship and enjoy life. It's just not the life most of us know. Through a fluke of a bird watcher all they hold dear, their very existence is put into jeopardy. Enter single mom policewoman Jess. Jess has a fractured relationship with her daughter Nina. Jess is involved in the search for Ray and Lindy. When they are found Jess makes a decision that will impact on all their lives. The writing is lyrical and flawless. This is an important book that everyone should read.
SouthernGirlReads on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Jessica Villareal is a cop. She's also a mother but she considers herself a better cop than parent and whenever she talks to her daughter she's reminded of her motherly shortcomings. Regret has a big part in Jess's life. She regrets many things, but mostly the over-protectiveness of her daughter as a teenager that eventually pushed her to go live with Jess's ex-husband, taking her young grandson with her. She would give anything to go back and do things differently. But when you're a cop and you've seen the things Jess has seen, its easy to become obsessed with protecting your family.WHEN SHE FLEW by Jennie Shortridge is a fictionalized story taken straight from actual events that asks the question What makes a good parent? Is good parenting determined by following societies interpretation of what acceptable parenting should be? Or is it a case by case basis taking individual circumstances into account? Is it illegal to go against the grain of society and do what you think is right for your child no matter what? And should you be persecuted for not conforming to 'normal' social practices?These are the questions that Officer Villareal faces when she meets Lindy, a thirteen year old girl and her father, an Iraq war veteran who is down on his luck and living in the forests of Oregon. When Lindy is spotted near a wildlife preserve, and takes off running when she realizes she's been seen, fear for her safety becomes paramount. The police assemble an all out man hunt to find this supposed 'lost' child. What they find instead is a father and daughter living self sufficiently in the forest at a camp with sparse, but clean living conditions, a garden of fresh food and no evidence at all that the girl is being harmed in any way.Things begin to get complicated when Jess learns more about Lindy's family life and disagrees with the actions of social services. As she gets to know Lindy and her father, she begins to understand the choices he's made. Her mothering instincts come out and at the same time she can't help reflecting on her relationship with her own daughter. Jess has always been a follow-the-rules kind of cop but she soon finds herself making decisions that could not only put her job in jeopardy, but also land her on the wrong side of the law.Jennie Shortridge does an amazing job of telling this story in a way that unfolds beautifully and realistically while bringing to the forefront the different perceptions of the proper way to raise a child. It is told in alternating voices between Jess and Lindy, giving deep insight to each character. We learn that although Jess has made mistakes in her personal life, she is trying hard to make amends yet still stick to her principles. In Lindy, we discover a thriving, smart, teenager who, thanks to her father, appreciates the natural world around her. A girl who as she begins to mature is not naive to her circumstances. She realizes she has dreams of her own and that the situation with her father is unique. She is a young lady with a soul much older than her years, which in this case, is not necessarily a bad thing.As soon as I started reading I knew I was going to enjoy this book. Between the interesting story and Shortridge's wonderful writing style, I was hooked. I'll be reading more from this author in the future.
Cats57 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"When She Flew" is a fictionalization of true events. The story of a disabled Iraq war vet raising his daughter in an Oregon park, and the woman who breaks all the rules to help them. Unfortunately by helping them, Jess risks much and nearly looses it all. You see, Jess is one of the police people who have been sent to investigate the sighting of an lone young girl running in the forest wearing a silver cocktail dress. Jess also disregards her superiors commands and takes things into her own hands.This is a story of "no good deed goes unpunished" and what happens to someone who wants to help and thinks that she has all the answers. Soon learning that nothing is the way it seems.I found this to be an engaging story, yet ultimately depressing. Truth and real life so often are, and Ms Shortridge holds nothing back, does not sugar coat anything.Depressing as this may have been to me, it is an eyeopening story that ends on a small note of hope.I would have preferred to have given this book 3 and a half stars but we are unable to do so. This was not a bad book; this was actually an excellent book. It was not poorly written, the character of Jess is a strong, wonderful character, I just happen to like my books to offer a bit more of hope at the end that this book did.
dablackwood on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the story of a young girl and her father who are living in the forest of Oregon partly because the father is a mentally unstable veteran. It is also the story of the divorced police officer who finds these two and must decide whether she can comply with the authority's wishes to separate them and send the girl to foster care. I think this is based on an actual event and is a powerful story, but the writing is just okay and awkward dialogue does nothing to further the plot. I might not be the right reviewer for this book - I think I'm too cynical to buy into some of it.
nnjmom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In When She Flew by Jennie Shortridge, Portland police officer Jessica Villareal goes out into the woods with her fellow officers to look for an adolescent girl who was spotted by some hikers. A sexual predator has been in the area, and there is concern that she may have been victimized. What the officers find, however, is Ray Wiggs, a veteran of the Iraqi War, and his daughter, Lindy. The father and daughter have been living in the woods. Lindy is well cared for, extremely smart and well-educated, clean, and healthy.Because the pair is camping unlawfully, though, and because Lindy is not attending a public school, Jessica¿s commanding officer decides to get the Department of Health Services involved, which means that Lindy will be placed in foster care, even though she has a parent who loves her and is caring for her. As a police officer, Jess¿s job is to take Lindy to the foster home. As a mother, though, she can¿t bear the thought of separating a child from a loving father. She makes a decision that places her career and her own freedom at risk.This book was my first experience with Jennie Shortridge¿s work, though it definitely won¿t be my last. In When She Flew she has crafted a fast-paced story about a mother trying to make up for her past mistakes and a remarkable young girl who loves her father more than anything. I loved the character of Lindy, and Shortridge wrote her voice so clearly, it almost seemed that her sections of the book were written by a completely different author than the one who wrote Jess¿s side of the story.As a homeschooling family, we have faced our own questions and criticisms for not doing things the ¿normal¿ way. Although homeschooling is becoming more and more accepted, there is still a large segment of people who think everyone should fit into a neat little box, should live the same way, should learn the same way. I loved the fact that Shortridge explored this issue in her book ¿ the issue of what a family is, what normal is.While this was the first Jennie Shortridge novel I have read, it certainly won¿t be the last.
butterflybaby on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Enchanting. This book was on of the best books I've read this year. I highly recommend this book for book groups as well. Based on a true story I think Shortridge captured the spirit of the story.
writestuff on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Lindy, a 13 year old girl, is living in a forested Oregon park with her father. Pater has served time in Iraq and suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), but despite his challenges he is devoted to his daughter and focused on protecting her¿.from her drug addicted mother and the mean urban streets where crime is rampant. Far from being homeless (Pater has constructed a tree house, cultivates a garden and has arranged the water flow from nearby creek in order to have bathing facilities), Lindy and her father are living their lives off the land¿traveling into town periodically to borrow library books and attend church. But when a group of birders spots Lindy in the woods, a full-blown search is mounted to ¿save¿ her.Jess Villareal is one of the police officers on the search team¿and she brings her own personal history along with her. Divorced and mostly estranged from her daughter and young grandson, Jess finds herself identifying with Lindy¿s situation and is determined to help her, even if it means going against orders and breaking the law.Jennie Shortridge¿s fourth novel is a quick, compelling read. Written in the alternating viewpoints of Jess and Lindy and based on the true story of a war veteran and his young daughter found living in a wooded park in Portland, Oregon in 2004, When She Flew wastes no time in immersing the reader in the dramatic plot. Shortridge brings her characters to life on the page ¿ revealing their desires, faults and motivations effortlessly. I found her style easy to read and poignantly realistic.The novel delves into several themes: the misunderstandings which surround homelessness, the plight of war veterans suffering from PTSD, how we define `good¿ parenting, and the broader issues around human and social relationships, including love, loss and healing from trauma. Shortridge¿s ability to explore these themes without getting preachy or long-winded made me an instant fan of her work. Too often novelists take on big subjects and forget about the characters. When She Flew is all about the characters¿especially the female characters who discover themselves by taking risks and being willing to defy the weight of social expectations and `fly.¿This was my first novel by Jennie Shortridge, but it will not be my last. I found her writing accessible and relevant, but most of all enjoyable. When She Flew will appeal to those readers who love well-developed characters and quickly paced plots.Recommended.
tibobi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Short of It:When She Flew is a gem of a little book. This story gently unfolds into a beautiful thing.The Rest of It:This is one of those stories that flows effortlessly. From the moment I picked it up, I knew it was going to be one of those books. As I was reading about Jessica and her relationship with her own daughter, I was struck with how realistically her life was drawn. The life of a cop, a female cop no less¿the need to maintain a game face at all times, the pressure to hold it all together, it all rings true. Women struggle to be everything, to everyone and sometimes fail in the process. Jess isn¿t perfect, and we see her flaws but she is an easy character to relate to. I appreciated the fact that Jess was strong, but flawed. It made her more human.As she deals with Ray and Lindy, the `forest people¿ trying desperately to make a life of their own on what little they have, we see what happens when oil and water meet. Jess has ideas of what a good parent is and she berates herself daily, over the mistakes she has made with her own daughter. However, when she sees the fierce love that Ray has for Lindy, she begins to realize that there may be more than one way to be a good parent. That providing the basics such as food and shelter is just a part of what being a parent is.The story is told with alternating points of view, one of which being Lindy¿s. Lindy is a delicate bird. At the age of thirteen, she is becoming a young lady and has learned to appreciate all she has. Taken from an abusive mother, her father sheltered her from society, yet raised her to be self-sufficient, to live off the land. She is educated and wiser than her years but she is anything but fragile. Like a bird, she is ready to take flight but possesses a sensibility that most young girls do not possess at this age.Ray, Lindy¿s father, is an Iraq war vet battling post-traumatic stress. He lives on a very small income and creates a sanctuary for Lindy out in the middle of the forest. Shortridge takes great care with Ray. As a reader, you cannot judge Ray. He¿s troubled but makes the best decisions he can for the sake of his daughter. I was touched by his tenderness.While I was reading the book, there was a small part of me expecting a very pat ending. I am happy to report that this is not the case. Shortridge crafts a beautiful story with well-developed characters. When I finished reading it, I felt the weight of it, and lingered in its warmth for a bit.
LiteraryFeline on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The seeds of a story can come from anywhere: a conversation overheard, the sound of a train rolling by, our own life experiences or even a story heard in the news. Jennie Shortridge was inspired by the true life story of a Vietnam Veteran and his daughter who had been living in the woods for a number of years. The daughter was healthy and well-adjusted, home schooled by her father. They had lived in the wooded park for four years, living off the land. Shortridge's wonderings about their life began to spin together into what would become the novel When She Flew.After completing When She Flew, I just had to know more about the real life father and daughter who had lived in Forest Park near Portland, if only to know they were okay. While Shortridge's story is very much her own, echoes of Frank and Ruth's story, the real life father and daughter pair, can be seen.Ray is an Iraqi veteran, disabled and down on his luck. Unable to find work, Ray and his daughter, Lindy, take refuge in the forest of a park in Columbia, Oregon where they end up living for years. One fateful day as Lindy follows a heron, she wanders too far from home and a couple of bird watchers catch sight of her. Her quiet little world is suddenly upended.Police Officer Jessica Villareal is one of the officers assigned to search the woods for the girl. Recent violent crimes against children have the police force on high alert. They fear for her safety and only want to ensure she is alright. Jess's interest in the girl is twofold, both as a cop and as a mother. She has always played by the rules, tried to do her best on the job and for her daughter. Approaching 40, divorced, and estranged from her daughter who has a child of her own, Jess is doubting herself, doubting the choices she has made throughout her life.Jess and her colleagues are shocked at what they find in the forest. Ray and Lindy seem happy and strongly connected, and Jess soon realizes that separating them could be the worst thing that could happen to the pair. Her fellow officers and superior do not agree and Jess must make a choice: break up a family or risk her own career to stand up for what she believes is right?It took me a few pages to warm up to Jess, and I think that is a testament to the author. Jess is the kind of person who does not know how to let people get close to her. On the job especially, she is the consummate professional. And yet underneath that tough exterior lies someone who is lonely and sad. Jess has had to wear a hard shell much of her life, both as a child and as a mother. In trying to protect her daughter she only alienated her more, creating a strain that Jess longed to heal but unsure how. She feels it even more now that she has a grandchild. Her relationship with her own mother is not an easy one and has not been since the death of her father, who died when Jess was a child.I especially liked the voice of Lindy, the 13 year old girl who had been living in the forest with her father. She seemed so innocent and yet wise beyond her years. She is perceptive and smart. Her father encourages her and loves her, and it shows. It is through her eyes that the reader understands why Lindy and her father are living in the forest and just how strong the bond is between them. My heart ached at the thought of the two of them being separated. Ray himself is a complicated character. He is a disabled war veteran suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. His life has not been an easy one and he bears a lot of guilt. He clearly loves his daughter and wants to do right by her. What he thinks is right, however, may not be what others think is right. Having read and enjoyed Love and Biology and the Center of the Universe, I looked forward to reading When She Flew. And Jennie Shortridge proves yet again that she has a talent for creating characters that are real in every way but flesh. They are flawed and vulnerable and yet strong and capable. I longed for a
lesliecp on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Jess Villareal is a police officer with a personal history that she would like to erase. Lindy is a young teenager living an off-the-grid existence with her war veteran father in an Oregon forest. The intersection of these two lives will have life changing consequences for both.I loved the way this story was written from the perspectives of both Jess and Lindy in alternating chapters. This was a fast, compelling read that dealt with a number of serious topics including single parenting, PTSD, and drug abuse without being preachy. I will definitely be looking for other books by this author.
morningwalker on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was inspired by the real event of a Vietnam War veteran raising his daughter in the woods for several years before being discovered. The author uses this event to allow the main character, Jessica Villareal, a police officer in the Pacific Northwest, the chance to make a decision that alters her life. I am always interested in stories based on real events, but this one just didn¿t hook me. I don¿t quite know why. It was a fast read, but I didn¿t find myself anxious to pick it up and discover what was going to happen next. Maybe part of my ambivalence was due to the writing style because I felt at times I was reading a juvenile novel, rather than one written for adults. It does explore some societal views about the ¿right environment¿ necessary to raise a healthy child, and doing the ¿right thing¿ even if it means breaking the law, but again, the writing failed to inspire me to ponder these issues to any great degree.
coolmama on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was really disappointed in this book, which surprised me as I really enjoyed Jennie's other books.The entire novel felt unfinished for me somehow -- it all felt like a rough draft. None of the characters were fully developed enough for me to enjoy or or really relate to it.
nbmars on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In 2004, a Vietnam vet and his 12-year-old daughter were discovered living in Portland Oregon's Forest Park. The man and girl had lived in the park for four years. According to police, they appeared clean, well fed and healthy, and the girl was well-spoken beyond her years. A police officer found the man a job and a place for the two to live on a friend's horse farm in Yamhill County.Shortridge adapted the facts of this actual case to construct a very likeable story about Ray Wiggs (an Iraqi vet with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), his daughter Lindy, and a female police officer who helped find them, thirty-eight-year-old single mom Jess Villereal.The chapters alternate between the voices of Jess and of Lindy. Jess feels like she failed as a mother to her daughter Nina, who now is also a single mother. Nina still harbors resentments against her mother: for the divorce, for Jess¿s demanding career, and for a lifetime of misunderstandings and slights. So the two are estranged, and it hurts Jess deeply. Thus Jess feels drawn to Lindy, almost as if she has gotten another chance to ¿do it right.¿ Police procedure dictates that Ray be taken to a shelter and Lindy to social services for foster care placement; the two would be separated and there would be no guarantee Lindy would end up in a good situation. Jess is determined to help Lindy and Ray stay together, even though this would contravene her duties as a police officer.Lindy has to navigate between her own needs and those of her dad. He has always taken the best care of her, and when he has episodes of PTSD, she wants to reciprocate for the care-giving she has received. If they are separated, there is no telling what would happen to Ray.The story of the relationships among Jess, Nina, Jess¿s mother, and Lindy interweave in the resolution of the struggle. The author reveals in an Afterward that the title ¿When She Flew¿ refers to the fact that ¿each of the female characters in this story tries out her wings ¿ tries something different from usual ¿ and each experiences a metamorphosis by doing so.¿Evaluation: I was very impressed with this book. The plot just had soap opera written all over it, yet the author did a great job in eschewing bathos and constructing a good story. The characters seem very realistic: likeable, yet human with moods and foibles and uncertainty and insecurity. Jess¿s musing on her shortcomings as a parent will have most adults nodding in recognition. But this is not a book with a negative tone; on the contrary, it¿s very upbeat, optimistic, and affirming. Overall, it is a very engaging novel.
taramatchi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was a very interesting book about a police officer/mother forced to make a pretty hard choice... to follow her gut and keep a family together or follow orders to bring the child to a foster home. As a mother she was trying to sideline her own mistakes and repair her relationship with her child. It was refreshing that the characters were so believable and flawed. The story does fall a bit short in the end where ends are left a bit open ended, but so is life I suppose. The story reminded me of something that Jodi Picoult would write. It asks the reader to look inside themselves and wonder what we would do if we were put in the same situation. Every other chapter was told through Lindy's point of view. These chapters offered insight to how she saw the situations going on around her. I found some of the things that she went through to be heart wrenching. She was a very likable character and I wanted to root for her. In some ways, I found that this book advocates listening to the children... Take time to hear what they want and need.
RLPace More than 1 year ago
Recently I finished a book--When She Flew--by Jennie Shortridge that should be on everyone's must-read list. This richly woven tapestry explores the human condition through the eyes of a 13 year old girl suddenly snatched from her home--albeit it an unconventional one--and a female cop pushing 40 looking back at a life of lost opportunities and regrets. A cop who tried so hard to protect her own now-estranged daughter that she forgot she sometimes just needed to be mom. At the unlikely intersection of these lives a haunted war veteran struggles to maintain his own grip on normality while providing a life for his daughter. A handful of cops each weigh their legal obligations with what their hearts and experience tell them is the right thing to do, and a compassionate intercessor makes the unthinkable a possibility. This is a sensitive and revealing portrait of how we treat our veterans--no just of wars on distant shores--but also in our neighborhoods and streets. But it is also a searing assessment of how impersonal bureaucracies and an ever increasing sensation-driven media grind up real lives in their unfeeling machinery. When She Flew is a talisman for our times and deserves a space in our consciousness reserved for books that so poignantly define an era that they forever change hearts and minds. So long as books are read, this one ought to live among the giants.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
TiBookChatter More than 1 year ago
This is one of those stories that flows effortlessly. From the moment I picked it up, I knew it was going to be one of those books. As I was reading about Jessica and her relationship with her own daughter, I was struck with how realistically her life was drawn. The life of a cop, a female cop no less.the need to maintain a game face at all times, the pressure to hold it all together, it all rings true. Women struggle to be everything, to everyone and sometimes fail in the process. Jess isn't perfect, and we see her flaws but she is an easy character to relate to. I appreciated the fact that Jess was strong, but flawed. It made her more human. As she deals with Ray and Lindy, the 'forest people' trying desperately to make a life of their own on what little they have, we see what happens when oil and water meet. Jess has ideas of what a good parent is and she berates herself daily, over the mistakes she has made with her own daughter. However, when she sees the fierce love that Ray has for Lindy, she begins to realize that there may be more than one way to be a good parent. That providing the basics such as food and shelter is just a part of what being a parent is. The story is told with alternating points of view, one of which being Lindy's. Lindy is a delicate bird. At the age of thirteen, she is becoming a young lady and has learned to appreciate all she has. Taken from an abusive mother, her father sheltered her from society, yet raised her to be self-sufficient, to live off the land. She is educated and wiser than her years but she is anything but fragile. Like a bird, she is ready to take flight but possesses a sensibility that most young girls do not possess at this age. Ray, Lindy's father, is an Iraq war vet battling post-traumatic stress. He lives on a very small income and creates a sanctuary for Lindy out in the middle of the forest. Shortridge takes great care with Ray. As a reader, you cannot judge Ray. He's troubled but makes the best decisions he can for the sake of his daughter. I was touched by his tenderness. While I was reading the book, there was a small part of me expecting a very pat ending. I am happy to report that this is not the case. Shortridge crafts a beautiful story with well-developed characters. When I finished reading it, I felt the weight of it, and lingered in its warmth for a bit.
literarymuseVC More than 1 year ago
"You have choices," are the thoughtful words that deepen an already unfathomable rift between mother and daughter. Is anyone responsible for all the wrong words said? How to revive the joy of mother and daughter in infancy and childhood? Jessie Villareal feels like a failure of a mother but confident in her skills as a police officer. She follows all the rules, as her father, also a police officer, did and would have had he not died early on in her life. But losing the one you love can become both one's biggest enemy or blessing! Two hikers run into a little girl wearing a fancy dress over her regular clothing. When they call out to her, she flees as if a killer were after her, and the campers find something in the woods that makes them believe this little girl is in terrible danger. From that moment on, the adventure becomes fast and even chaotic as the search for the girl begins, and no one is capable of imagining how they will handle what they are about to find. Pater, an Iraqi veteran, and Lindy are ready with a carefully made plan. A course of riveting events follows in which the essence of every person involved shows the true colors depicted as a struggle for power, prestige, stereotyping, misunderstanding, protection, honesty and deep love willing to sacrifice it all. The process and outcome forces the reader to re-examine his or her ideas about separation and bonding, as well as offering a more positive point of view of a media more frequently maligned than praised. Yes, the wilderness does bring one back to one's roots, paring away the skin of modernity that just might be more of a curse than one normally realizes. Jennie Shortridge is a talented author whose ability to combine reality and idealism is superbly presented in this fascinating novel! Reviewed by Viviane Crystal on December 20, 2009