Friday, September 9, 2016

Flight (Sherman Alexie)

Sherman Alexie
Open Road Media
Fiction, YA Fantasy/General Fiction
***+ (Okay/Good)

DESCRIPTION: Half-Indian Michael, better known as Zits, is a fifteen-year-old ball of pain and rage. Abandoned by his father at birth and by his mother after she died of cancer, he's bounced from foster home to jail to halfway house and back, with numerous short stints on the streets, only finding more misery and rejection everywhere he goes... until one day he walks into the lobby of a Seattle bank with a loaded gun, beyond caring what happens to him or anyone else. Then, in the blink of an eye, he's in another man's body halfway across the country and forty years in the past. As Zits bounces from life to life through history, he confronts hatred, betrayal, heartbreak, and pain in innumerable forms, all far beyond his control. Can he ever return to his own life, or is it too late for him, too?

REVIEW: A brutal look at the cycles of hatred, fear, abuse, and prejudice, this isn't a particularly easy read, nor is Zits an easy character to sympathize with. He starts out so broken, full of anger and betrayal to the point of numbness, stuck in a situation that seems utterly beyond hope or redemption, that it took me a while to decide if I even wanted to spend the length of a book, even a relatively short book, with him. But I pushed ahead anyway, more on faith in the known author than in the character or situation. Once Zits makes his great mistake and starts time traveling, forced to see the world through other people'e eyes, he started growing on me. The solution feels a little clean, and there never really is an explanation for his miraculous time-slip (hence me splitting the category with Fantasy), but overall it's a decent, if sometimes tough, story.

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