The Art of Crash Landing - Melissa DeCarlo
From a bright new talent comes this debut novel about a young woman who travels for the first time to her mother’s hometown, and gets sucked into the mystery that changed her family forever
Mattie Wallace has really screwed up this time. Broke and knocked up, she’s got all her worldly possessions crammed into six giant trash bags, and nowhere to go. Try as she might, Mattie can no longer deny that she really is turning into her mother, a broken alcoholic who never met a bad choice she didn’t make.
When Mattie gets news of a possible inheritance left by a grandmother she’s never met, she jumps at this one last chance to turn things around. Leaving the Florida Panhandle, she drives eight hundred miles to her mother’s birthplace—the tiny town of Gandy, Oklahoma. There, she soon learns that her mother remains a local mystery—a happy, talented teenager who inexplicably skipped town thirty-five years ago with nothing but the clothes on her back. But the girl they describe bears little resemblance to the damaged woman Mattie knew, and before long it becomes clear that something terrible happened to her mother, and it happened here. The harder Mattie digs for answers, the more obstacles she encounters. Giving up, however, isn’t an option. Uncovering what started her mother’s downward spiral might be the only way to stop her own.
Hilarious, gripping, and unexpectedly wise, The Art of Crash Landing is a poignant novel from an assured new voice.
It's not often that I agree with a synopsis when it says a book is hilarious. Well, it's maybe not "hilarious" but it is pretty funny and a very enjoyable read this past weekend! This book reminded me a lot of Liza Palmer's Nowhere But Home and that was such a good book. I'll be homing these two books next to each other on my shelf for sure.
But we have the story of Mattie, who had an interesting childhood with a mother who didn't give her the best example in the world. Mattie finds herself completely broke, left her boyfriend for the umpteenth time, and now she's knocked up. So naturally, she flees to her "step dad" and when it gets to be too obvious that he has something to say about her situation and that feelings may be involved, she again flees to Oklahoma in the saddest excuse for a vehicle. It seems her maternal grandmother has passed away and left her some kind of inheritance, and since Mattie has no other options that are any better, she heads off to find out what was left to her and why.
Interestingly, the mother Mattie thought she knew actually wasn't that way her whole life. It was like her mother had a whole other persona and that alone is hard for Mattie to digest and as she discovers what made her mother leave in the first place. Throughout the process it becomes clear that Mattie needs to figure it out if she has any hope of figuring out her own life and not repeating the same mistakes her mother did.
The best part of the book easily is the writing. Melissa DeCarlo is such a funny, say-it-like-it-is writer and she doesn't sugar coat anything. So many sentences in this book made me laugh out loud and I so very much needed that this weekend. The characters themselves are developed so well, you learn to love Mattie even though she truly is a hot mess. She's that one friend we all have who measures their life by how many garbage bags it takes to get their stuff into. I also loved the connection between Mattie and Queeg (the loving nickname she's given her step dad) because he feels like maybe the only stable thing she has, and though she wants to deny any sentimental or emotional connection to him, it's obvious to us that it's there. Plus- debut novel! I have to just say, this year all of the debut novels I have read are stunning and make me hungry for more, this one is definitely included!
You can find The Art of Crash Landing on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If you're up for some light stalking, you can find Melissa DeCarlo on her website, Facebook and Twitter!
And as always, if you want to see what I'm reading next or what shenanigans are happening, follow me on Bloglovin' and don't miss a thing.