I just finished reading a great book: Flygirl by Sherri Smith. I picked this novel up in the teen section at the library. I had been craving to read some historical fiction since I have recently been reading mystery (like the Pretty Little Liars series) and realistic fiction (like Him, Me, Them and It and Stealing Heaven.) The book also interested me because (from what I could tell from the summary on the inside sleeve) it was about women’s rights.
The book ended up also being about civil rights. It really opened up my eyes-on a whole new level- to how difficult it was to be black and in the military. I found out, that in a lot of ways, women and blacks were treated like less than human and were essentially the Guinea Pigs. They made them think they had a chance at fighting for their countries, but really just used them to do the dirty work and test dangerous equipment. They rarely even looked for a black person’s body if they went missing.
So, you get the main ideas of the story. Here’s a summary of who the book follows: Ida Mae Jones. Ida Mae Jones is a light-skinned young woman living outside of New Orleans, Louisiana. She lives with her Mama, Grandy, (mother’s father/grandfather) and Abel (younger brother.) Ida’s father died in a tractor accident on their family’s berry farm. He is the main influence in Ida’s life. She always looked up to her father and got along with him a lot better than her mom. They also had a lot in common. Especially their love for flying. Ida helped her dad dust the crops with his plane and spent her days dreaming of being a pilot. Unfortunatly, the only socially acceptable career for a black woman, no matter how light-skinned, is a maid. So, Ida spens her first year out of high school cleaning wealthy neighbors’ homes with her best friend Jolene.
One day, Abel points out an article in the newspaper for a new program called WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots) to Ida. Ida is definitely interested and will do anything to get away from her boring job. Against her mother’s word, Ida goes in for an interview and sees that a black woman is immediatly turned down becasue of her race. Ida decides right then and there to “pass” as white. It works. She made it into training and heads to Texas. She soon finds out that hiding who she is is harder than she thought.
I loved this book even more than I thought I would. Smith had a lot of lessons to share about gender and racial equality, friendship, courage and the true meaning of family. As I found out in the author’s note, many of the characters were even real people! I always love a based on a true story type of book. Even though this book wasn’t written for my demographic, I felt like it was just as much a worthwhile read! Be sure to check out this must-read!!!