Review: Flight by Sherman Alexie

flight by sherman alexie

Flight follows this troubled foster teenager – a boy who is not a ‘legal’ Indian because he was never claimed by his father – as he learns that violence is not the answer.

The journey for Flight’s young hero begins as he’s about to commit a massive act of violence. At the moment of the decision, he finds himself shot back through time to resurface in the body of an FBI agent during the civil rights era, where he sees why ‘Hell is Red River, Idaho, in the 1970s’. Red River is only the first stop in an eye-opening trip through moments in American history. He will continue travelling back to inhabit the body of an Indian child during the battle at Little Bighorn and then ride with an Indian tracker in the nineteenth century before materialising as an airline pilot jetting through the skies today. During these travels through time, his refrain grows: ‘Who’s to judge?’

This novel seeks nothing less than an understanding of why human beings hate. Flight is irrepressible and fearless – Sherman Alexie at his most brilliant.

Description taken from Goodreads.

As great as Alexie’s THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN was, and as much as I liked certain aspects of FLIGHT, I thought that the entire story felt off in FLIGHT. I hear that it’s more like Alexie’s adult novels, so if you’re a fan of those and want to branch into YA, I would recommend reading this, but I wouldn’t for kids.

FLIGHT has a lot of themes on anger, forgiveness and hate. Even though those themes turn out to be positive, teaching things, they’re portrayed through a series of not very well explained or described time travels to the past, almost like THE GIVER where Jonas starts seeing all the memories and gains empathy. The execution of the story itself was bland and full of subplots that could’ve been cut out to make the story more meaningful, and even though I liked the idea of the book and I was very prepared to enjoy it, I couldn’t.

THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART TIME INDIAN is better organized, less angry and generally a more friendly read. If you’re looking for angry, I would recommend Alexie’s earlier novels (adult) or A.S. King’s REALITY BOY (YA). All in all, not one for me. 1.5 stars.

pg count for the paperback: 208


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