Fly Away Home by Jennifer Weiner

Fly Away HomeFly Away Home by Jennifer Weiner
Published by Atria, an imprint of Simon & Schuster

Sylvie Woodruff and her two daughters, Diana and Lizzie, are stunned when they find out that her husband and their father, Senator Richard Woodruff, is having an affair with a much younger woman. Sylvie heads to her family’s house in Connecticut to regroup and figure out what she wants to do about her marriage, while Diana and Lizzie have their own problems to deal with. Diana, a doctor with a young son, is married to a man she detests and therefore is having an affair with a young medical student. Lizzie, fresh out of rehab, is attempting to put her own life back together as she works as a nanny for Diana’s son. Each of the three Woodruff women must wrestle with the twists and turns life has thrown at them and figure out how to make it all work out, somehow.

I have been a fan of Jennifer Weiner for years and have read all of her books, but I have to say that Fly Away Home might be my favorite of them yet. Her books have always stood out from the rest of the “chick lit” genre to me, as being much deeper than some other books that also fit that mold, and this one in particular dealt with very serious issues in a realistic way, making for very interesting, compelling reading.

What’s so fabulous about Fly Away Home is the realistic, honest characters. These women are each flawed to a degree – Sylvie acknowledges that she wasn’t a very attentive or loving mother to her two girls, Diana is cheating on her husband, Lizzie has a drug problem she’s attempting to recover from – but their flaws make them so much more real. I felt like I knew these characters, like they are a part of my life now that I’ve spent so much time getting to know them and hearing their stories and understanding the truths behind their personalities. The fact that the chapters alternate between each of the three women really gives the reader the opportunity to sink deep into the story, as we hear from each of their individual voices and perspectives.

There are some serious issues raised in Fly Away Home – infidelity, drug use, questionable parenting, and the honest look at the toll marriage can take on a couple – but it never feels heavy or overdone. Instead, these issues just serve to illuminate the real things the characters have to deal with, and how they grow because of them. At the same time, Weiner does the perfect thing in this book by not being too light with her characters either; these women have serious hurdles and she doesn’t shy away from writing a realistic portrayal of how they are affected by these issues.

I listened to Fly Away Home on audio and the production was fantastic. The narrator, Judith Light, really channeled the personalities of all three women with the tone of her voice and inflection. I would absolutely recommend listening to Fly Away Home as well as reading it in print.

So, I would highly recommend Fly Away Home. Jennifer Weiner is an author I can never get enough of, and her latest book hit the mark perfectly for me. A real treat.


12 thoughts on “Fly Away Home by Jennifer Weiner”

  1. I have never read anything by Weiner, but I have heard that she tells very complex and emotionally moving stories. This might be just the place to start. I am glad to hear that this one engrossed you, and will be looking for it. Great review, Heather!

    1. I really, really love her books. I thought they were too “chick lit” for me before I read them, but once I gave them a chance I realized that her books are much deeper than you’d think. This one in particular deals with very serious themes. I hope you try one of her books soon!

  2. Spot on review! Fly Away Home was my first Jennifer Weiner audiobook and will definitely look for more of her novels. I usually sew while I listen to these novels and therefore am less likely to quit on any book. The more I listen the more intrigue I become!

  3. Maybe I should give this one a try. I listened to one other Weiner audiobook and, while I enjoyed the story well enough, the two narrators got a big thumbs down from me. They weren’t actively bad, but they definitely weren’t good.

    1. Was it Certain Girls? That’s the only one I know of with two narrators. I don’t remember whether I liked or disliked them but I do know that I liked the book. The narrator of Fly Away Home was pretty good, I enjoyed listening to her.

  4. A friend of mine loves Weiner’s work, so I tried one of her books years ago and I just thought it was okay. Maybe I should try this one since you think it’s one of her best.

  5. I’ve read a couple of reviews of this book lately and it’s definitely on my to-read list. Will let you know how I find it!

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