Friday Flashback: On Little Wings

Read July 2-7, 2013.

So, there are more books that I want to talk about than I can neatly fit in my 52 Books, 52 Weeks project. So, every once in a while on a Friday, I’ll toss in a flashback to a book previously read.

I am aware that I have the attention span of a ferret. But, Jesus, stop wondering about my undiagnosed ADD and go read this book.

It opens:

"Not every ocean is wet. The first time I stared at a wheat field and saw the golden stalks roll like a tide pushed by the wind, I knew I’d learned a secret; there is an ocean in Nebraska."


I’m going to give you a second. Read that again. Read it out loud. Now imagine 400 pages that are just as beautiful.

This is an extraordinary book. The story is well-told. The narrator is sympathetic. The supporting characters are charming. The ending is hopeful.

But that’s not why it’s extraordinary. It’s extraordinary because it’s the kind of book that changes you, the kind you can’t leave behind. It’s the best kind of evocative–the kind where you are so transported somewhere that you know how it smells, the kind where you know what the spray of the ocean feels like, the kind where you know that if this town existed in your universe, you wouldn’t need a map to find the docks. You could get there with your eyes closed, although you’d open them to talk to the craggy fishermen sitting on the bench in town as you walked by.

For four magical days, I lived in Smithport. I shopped in the fish market. I rowed a boat out to the small island to watch the fireworks. I wrapped myself in my grandmother’s quilt and dreamt. This book is a love letter to Maine, and it is beautifully rendered. I want to go to Maine now. I want to see Jennifer’s ocean. I want to walk on Jennifer’s rocky beach, see the fireworks shot off the fishing boats.

I looked, and Smithport does not, in fact exist. I was devastated. You will be, too.

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