Monday, February 18, 2008

Flying out of Brooklyn, by Beverly Magid

ISBN: 9780595455867 - iUniverse (2007)
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (12/07)

The year is 1943, and Judith Weissman's apartment neighbor has just committed suicide.  Judith is not happy, and this incident makes her take a closer look at her own life.  Her marriage, family relationships and work are very unsatisfying.  She yearns to be living the dreams that she had as a teenager.  When Bobby, the object of Judith's high school crush, returns injured from the war, Judith reaches out to him.  The secretiveness of the relationship gives Judith the illusion that life seems more vivid and that she finally feels alive.  As Judith suffers through a serious tragedy in her family, she realizes what is really important to her and she learns who she can really count on. 
"Flying Out of Brooklyn," is a coming-of-age novel about a young Jewish woman from a Brooklyn neighborhood.  Beverly Magid wrote this story in such vivid detail that I felt I was looking at it through Judith's eyes and feeling it through her heart.  Judith is a woman that is desperately seeking a change in her life.  She makes some choices that are really not in her best interest, yet she must experience the repercussions so that she can learn from them and discover what really is important and what really matters.  It was interesting for me to be able to know that Judith was making poor choices, yet understand why she did.  I liked watching Judith learn from them and grow.
I enjoyed how Magid incorporated into her story, what was happening at the time.  While men were away at war, women were working in once male-dominated fields.  They were proud to be able to play a role in the war, and to be able to gain higher paying employment.  They were working really hard and proving themselves, yet they still had to deal with issues of sexism and in some cases, racial prejudice.  Families also had to deal with rationing and food shortages.  Magid also incorporates aspects of the Jewish culture into the story to add richness and dimension. 
I highly recommend this novel. I know that "Flying Out of Brooklyn" will be enjoyed by adults of all ages and ethnic and religious backgrounds.
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