This is a review of Learning to Fly by Rachel Elizabeth Cole for the Indie-Fever Reading Challenge brought by b00k r3vi3ws.
I won this book in a LibraryThing Member Giveaway.
Learning to Fly is a book of short stories with characters that are well developed, relatable and oh so real. They are stories that tell of a difficult moment in people’s lives. In Fallen Leaves, there is the widowed mother who must consider taking in a difficult, elderly mother-in-law. The question is why? Listen to the Rain, is about a young pregnant couple who must learn whether it’s worth surviving past the chapter in their lives when neither of them says what they mean to and end their days in arguments. The character I related to most was the mother in Caring for Lily who is trying to find a daycare for her baby so she can return to work – truly that’s what she wants, right? Then there’s the blogger in For Good or For Bad, who has a good husband and two children, but can’t stop thinking about the one who got away. Finally, there’s Is This Seat Taken? where a young pregnant woman at a bus station meets a young college guy. Are they both lost or looking to find their own way?
As I stated above, the characters are real and the book is well written. What was most amiss for me was that they weren’t short stories, but excerpts of longer pieces. None of them was a complete story. It seemed to be what the author intended, but I was always of the belief that a short story has a beginning, middle and end. These all lacked an ending, some more than others. The last story was the most mystifying, though it wasn’t a mystery. It was unknown what the conflict was and why the pregnant woman was at the bus station. At least with the other stories, you could think of how the stories could turn out and dream up possible endings. For the last one, however, since it’s unsure what the conflict was, you have no idea what might happen.
Furthermore, as this is a fairly short book, I initially thought it was one short story and it took me a while to realize that the next chapter was indeed a whole new story since they are in the first person and you don’t know who the narrator is until the name is finally mentioned. This confusion could have been because I had a pdf version of the book without the cover. Looking at the cover later, it does state that these are a collection of short stories. A Table of Contents or a logline on the cover page could have helped, however.
Still, Rachel Elizabeth Cole is a very good writer who is great at character development, something I admire in a writer. I would be interested in reading a complete novel by her to see how she does finalize stories.
She has published eight books and her work has appeared in various publications.
Click on the links below to find Learning to Fly and to learn more about Rachel Elizabeth Cole.
Cost $2.99 Kindle edition