FLYAWAY by Lynn Hall
Kirkus Star


Email this review


Ariel, the 17-year-old narrator, writes: ""Who in this town would ever believe. . .that Frank Brecht [her father] was a destructive malevolence towering above our lives?"" Brecht, a small-town Wisconsin pharmacist, is a domestic tyrant: though the neighbors see only his generous facade, Ariel interprets his strict, unbending rule (his wife and daughters are not allowed jobs, money, or the freedom to go anywhere without supervision) as deeply motivated hate; she and her sister respond in kind. Undaunted, Ariel makes plans: understanding that she needs a high-school diploma for independence, she hangs in doggedly. She acquires a boyfriend (her father agrees that it will not look good if she fails to go to the prom) in the hope that he will help, but he proves much like her father: he wants her to work to put him through college, and his refusal to aid her escape is absolute. Nevertheless, on graduation day Ariel successfully takes wing, to a room and job in Madison, realizing that she is like a moth breaking from its cocoon: the struggle against her father has given her the strength that she needs to embark on life. With well-realized characters--sister Robin, bruised by an abortive first flight, but a survivor; the mother, who betrays Ariel at a crucial moment but loves her and is forgiven; Marlee, the loyal, fat friend; boyfriend Jens, feckless and immature but not all bad--and an upbeat, believable conclusion, this is one of Hall's strongest novels. It should find a ready audience.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1987
Page count: 120pp
Publisher: Scribners