Friday, March 15, 2013

Anne Morrow Lindbergh—aviatrix, author, mother, wife

The ways we choose to define ourselves can stifle our potential. This seems to be the lesson that Melanie Benjamin is trying to get across in The Aviator’s Wife. Melanie Benjamin, a.k.a. Melanie Hauser, created an intriguing historical novel about the life of Anne Morrow Lindbergh that gives the reader an idea of what the Lindbergh household was like behind closed doors.

We get the very brief history of Charles Lindbergh and the Lindbergh baby kidnapping in school, but we get very little information about anything else pertaining to the Lindbergh family. The media relentlessly hounded Anne and Charles for years, Charles was a dominating monster of sorts, and the Lindberghs went on to have 5 children that learned of their parents’ past in school the same way we do. Yes, their parents never told them about “the events of ’32.” While reading the book, I was constantly cross referencing other resources to verify facts and get more in-depth information. I was amazed to find out that Anne Lindbergh accomplished so much in her lifetime, but she fails to make the cut when we discuss the history of flight. Along the same lines, I also enjoyed Amelia Earhart’s brief and unflattering cameo early in the book. The text is also a gentle reminder about the struggles of women in the early 20th century and the traditions and expectations that many women had to overcome to create a life and name for themselves. Anne Lindbergh may not be showcased in many history books, but she led a life of accomplishment in many arenas.
While I will not say that this book is one of the best I’ve read, I will say that I enjoyed the book for the story and the education I received. The beginning of the book was very slow and some of Anne’s ponderings were a bit too flowery and drawn out, but stick with it. Just like Wikipedia, historical fiction can be a springboard—read, enjoy, then fact check using the referenced resources. Of course, there is always the option to just read the book for pure enjoyment.


Virnell said...

For anyone who has more than a surface knowledge of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, The Aviator’s Wife presents her life in a frivolous and disparaging manner, with countless inaccuracies of the facts of her life, but more importantly, with an erroneous sense of who she was, her accomplishments and her sense of self. So much of this can be found in Reeve’s latest book of her mother’s letters and diaries, Against Wind and Tide. Mrs. Lindbergh was a woman of great substance -- highly educated, incredibly literate and wonderfully expressive in her writing. I give classes and presentations on this remarkable woman, so this portrayal of Mrs. Lindbergh in The Aviator’s Wife is very disturbing to me. More can be learned about the real Mrs. Lindbergh through my blog Tea With Mrs. Lindbergh at
Virnell Bruce

wcpl said...

Thank you for your comment. I, too, felt that the book made Anne Lindbergh out to be a very frivolous and somewhat flighty woman. I regret that she isn't as well known to the general public as she should be. In the very least, the book may encourage readers to delve into her writings to discover more of the "real Mrs. Lindbergh" and her amazing life.
Thank you,
Caitlin Wissler

Virnell said...

Thanks for your comments. If this leads people to learn more about the real Anne Morrow Lindbergh, that would be a good thing! My fear is that most people will think of her in totally wrong ways, especially about her character.
Virnell Bruce