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Established author alert! It's always a treat when First Reads includes a book by an established author. Joy Castro is memoirist, essayist, novelist, and short story author. She is also a professor of literature and creative writing.
While Flight Risk is a work of fiction, it is written in the first person and reads like a memoir. It's an enjoyable deceptively easy read, yet quite an intelligent book. It will draw you in.
You should be aware that the book does contain swear words, including the so-called f-bomb. I find that sometimes a choice swear word is the only one that will do, but I know not everyone agrees with that assertion.
With nothing new under the sun, the impact of a book often comes down to the quality of the writing. And this one is good.
I had a hard time putting this book down; in fact, I read most of it in one sitting. The sad and fascinating tale is revealed in flashbacks (but not in a confusing or annoying way), and the main character's personality unfolds and even changes right before your eyes. I felt like I learned a lot about the human condition!! People complaining about the character's political views being expressed in one event/chapter should get over themselves. Half the country cried in disbelief that night. Does fiction have to be Fox-worthy now, too?
The storyline and characters drew you in and made you care. Myself being a Mexican American woman, I was interested in how the story would progress. As I grew up, people always questioned my Nationality, which I quickly cleared up and announced that I was Mexican, and proud of it. I saw prejudice, but hardly ever felt it. Isabel's biggest label was the daughter of a Drunk and loose woman, and then the daughter of a Child Killer. Being part Mexican was a plus, her beautiful coloring made her different. I enjoyed the whole story and sympathized with her upbringing, and her Rape. Looking forward to reading more from Joy Castro!
The writing is incredible and connects you to the characters in a way that feels so real. Reminded me of how Frederik Backman builds up his stories. I found myself 3/4 of the way through the book and expected to only be 25% through. I just got so drawn in I was unaware of how long I'd been reading. So many struggles laid bare about socioeconomic classes and family and being a women of color in rural Appalachia. Excellent story.
Side note...authors write about the world. A young Latina girl with a history of sexual assault was upset by the 2016 election - as I said above, the characters feel real. It was also only a paragraph....
FLIGHT RISK by Joy Castro is a compelling and emotional story of family secrets, escaping the past and finding peace. Isabel Morales has become a successful artist and sculptor. She is married to a wealthy doctor from an affluent Chicago family and leads a glamorous life that is a far cry from her traumatic and poverty-stricken childhood in Appalachia. Even her husband has no idea of the deeply-buried secrets of her past. When she learns her estranged mother has died in her prison cell, Isabel is forced to return to West Virginia and face her remaining extended family that cast her out so many years before. As one secret after another are revealed, Isabel’s carefully constructed world begins to crumble. Will she be able to acknowledge the past and find the strength to forgive herself and others and move forward with her life? There are many important issues discussed throughout the story that make it a timely and thought-provoking read. The dramatic contrast between the very rich and very poor is strikingly portrayed. I enjoyed this engaging novel and look forward to reading more from Joy Castro. FLIGHT RISK was one of Amazon First Reads picks for October.
This author’s vocabulary is fantastic and well utilized. I made good use of Kindles dictionary feature, continually delighted with the author’s ability to find the perfect word for what needed to be said. She managed to do this without sounding arrogant or false. The prose at times felt very poetic, but not pretentious. She accurately describes her heroines life—living in opposite niches, and how she moved from one world to another. I especially loved the deft writing of the story’s ending. It felt natural to fill in the blanks in my mind, with no need to write an epilogue.
There were a couple of spots where I felt pushed to suspend my belief. Overall though, it’s hard to recall those incidents because the story was very true to life regarding human nature, and humanity’s failings and beauty.
I highly recommend this book to those looking for something thoughtful to read.
Aren’t we all broken? Isabel’s insecurities and issues color her life, as is true of all of us. As she comes to terms with her past, and faces what she’s allowed herself to become in the name of self-preservation, we see the real Isabel finally begin to love herself and therefore become able to let go, begin to trust, and to truly love. Some reviewers have taken issue with her political leanings. I see them as part and parcel of her recognition of what she’s come from, and what is so clearly misunderstood or not understood at all( and ignored for the most part) by the more privileged of our society. Excellent read!
This is the story of a mixed-race backwoods child who escapes her past, becomes a successful artist in New York and marries into Chicago society. Life is mostly perfect until she has to go home for her mother's funeral.
I identified with heroine Isabel on many levels. She's an Appalachian native; I am only two generations removed from the "hollers." She doesn't talk about her roots; it's fairly recent that I learned to embrace mine. Her mother showed her love in ways that were difficult to understand; I doubted my mother's love more often than I believed in it. Neither of us talks much about when we became pregnant. Our husband's don't know our full history. We both have secrets. We don't like to reveal our secrets.
Which secrets does Isabel face when she goes home? How does it change her life?
Gut-wrenching from the get-go, Flight Risk's beautiful narrative unfolds in varied pace. Sometimes like origami paper, rapidly, without time to embrace the shocking rawness of the words you've just seen. Sometimes the author takes us on a sweeping mountainside ride, gently comin' round the bend to reveal a sprawling vista of emotion behind the next page. No matter the pace, Castro tackles provocative, real family dynamics with characters as developed and multifaceted as any human you'll ever meet. The complexity of the human condition, how the world conditions us and how we shape our world in return, are evident on every page. Brilliant book!