Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Anne Morrow Lindbergh

The Aviator’s Wife is told from Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s point of view and recounts the events of her life, including the terrible loss of her first son, kidnapped for ransom and murdered in the Depression.

Historical fiction or unauthorized biography?  It was a retelling of recorded events, but author Melanie Benjamin’s interpretation left me hungry for Anne’s authentic voice. The novel inspired me to re-read Gift from the Sea and several of her letters in Against Wind & Tide.
A woman writer is, to quote a nineteenth century  writer, “rowing against wind and tide.”… It still bothers me, the books I didn’t write. In fact, I don’t consider myself “a writer” but a woman who sometimes wrote. Against Wind & Tide
What an incredible woman: the first female to get a glider’s pilot licence; a celestial navigator; a writer. In her younger years she defined herself as the diplomat’s daughter, Charles Lindbergh’s wife, the mother of her children. Charles was gone on business a lot so she was in many ways a single parent (it would later be discovered he had three other families and seven other children). In her middle age, having raised her children and been a dutiful wife, she took lovers and spent more time writing.
For is it not possible that middle age can be looked upon as a period o second flowering, second growth, even a second kind of adolescence? It is true that society in general does not help one accept this interpretation of the second half of life. Gift from the Sea
As she wrote her letters she made carbon copies, quite aware she was writing for posterity. The first publication of AMLs letters and diary excerpts was edited heavily by Charles; Tides was edited by her daughter. So I am still left wondering about much of the inner life of this remarkable woman.

The Aviator’s Wife was Annika’s pick for the BPYC book club, chosen because it was voted by book clubs to provoke some of the best discussions. And it certainly did.  We touched on the nature of celebrity, compulsive disorders, sincerity, motherhood, love, grief, ageing.  Universal themes that touch all our lives.

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