I didn’t actually mean to put these books side by side in choosing to read them so close together. But they share a few similarities. Flygirl takes place in the 1940s and deals heavily with segregation and passing. And Lovecraft Country takes place in the 1950s and also deals heavily with segregation, as well as the Green travel guide, Jim Crows laws, and a…kind…of passing. But the weird thing both shared, in back to back days was that both, in dialog, used the word “panic attack” anachronistically…and I was so thrown with the use of the term that I read an academic article on the history of the terminology, which was first used in 1958, and would not have been in common enough use. But it was a weird coincidence.
CBR12Bingo – Cannonballer Says (https://cannonballread.com/2019/04/lovecraft-country-markabaddon/)
Lovecraft Country: 3/5 Stars
This is a horror novel (though it reads a little more like fantasy-horror) that takes place in the 1950s, and we begin with one protagonist (there are several) driving home through the South as he’s returned from Korea. He’s stopped by a trooper and treated to a gut-wrenching ordeal in which he thinks that the police officer is about to kill him. Our protagonist reflects on the irony of fighting in the unsegregated Army in order to be treated this way as a Black man in America upon his return. This sense of racial terror punctuates this novel and provides some of the various and important story beats, and is especially good in providing some of the “horror” of the novel (without it being racial terror porn like a lot of books and movies). If you recall the specific terror of Lakeith Stanfield’s character in the opening of Get Out, this hits those same beats (and of course this is being adapted for HBO in part by Jordan Peele).
So we learn that Atticus is a huge sci-fi and fantasy reader, something he shares with his dad and uncle, and when returns home he finds out that his father is missing, and has left a cryptic note that he’s in Massachusetts and wants his son to join him. Atticus, his uncle, and a woman he’s interested in, get in the car and drive.
I won’t get into it anymore than that because this is a PLOT novel with lots and lots of things that happen. Sometimes it feels like things can feel a little underdeveloped, like there’s 200 pages missing to round out the story, but there is a lot of great little things. It’s almost structured as an anthology/portmanteau novel but with each story being a section of the whole story which does tie together.
CBR12Bingo – I Wish…
Flygirl: 4/5 Stars
About the third or fourth book I’ve read in recent years about women in the flying services. This is technically a YA novel, but it’s mature in a lot of ways and I think good for older teens and adults, but we meet Ida May, a young Black Creole woman from Louisiana whose father was a local pilot. Ida May’s brother is going off to WWII and Ida May finds out about the WASPS, an all-women’s flying corps that is designed to do errand flying for the Army and the war effort. Using his fabricated version of her father’s pilot’s license and passing as white (she’s light-skinned), Ida May reinvents herself, facing both gendered and racial backlash (and possibly lynching) to try out for the corps. You can imagine, of course, that she makes it.
This is a really fun, sad, touching, and joyful novel as Ida May makes a lot of friends, contributes to the war effort, and faces the sting of being in a white man’s world. It’s a lot like “A League of their Own” in a lot of good ways, and is a really solid novel.