Takeoffs and Landings
Lori is so angry with her mother for her constant absence she can barely look at her, and Chuck, as usual, tries to make himself invisible. From the start the trip seems doomed. But slowly, walls built up over the years begin to show cracks. Laser-sharp glares are finally and painfully turned inward. And in the end secrets are finally revealed -- secrets that will change all of their lives forever....
Hmmm. Did I like this book? I'm still pondering that question more than 12 hours after completing it. Haddix put a lot of emotions and information into a relatively short book and though it was very compelling and well written, it just seemed a bit....jammed in there.
Takeoffs and Landings by one of my favorite youth writers, Margaret Peterson Haddix, is a book of intense family emotion. It is told by two siblings in alternating chapters. Chuck is the overweight, geeky older brother that we learn loves art, but is afraid to show that love. Lori is the self-obsessed younger sister that is completely into boys, friends, and parties, and definitely not into Chuck and his weirdness.
Their mother, a motivational speaker and very much resented by Lori, decides to take Chuck and Lori along for one of her 3 city tours in order for them to spend time together and possibly fix their straining relationship. Along the way, huge, emotion ridden fights ensue between Lori and her mom, while Chuck begins to find himself in art museums, hiding, yet learning and loving. By the end of the novel, the broken family almost seems fixed, which is a feat to do in only 201 pages.
Haddix has a magic about her that enables her to create real emotions in her characters that then feel real in her readers. She did that again in this book and I loved it, however I felt it was very rushed and somewhat strange that after all the intensity in hurt and anger that was portrayed only a few pages before, all is well at the end of the book. It needed a good 50-100 more pages to work out those family problems and make that part of the novel feel realistic to me.