Friday, March 25, 2011

Wings by Karl Friedrich

What a novel! One of the best WASP (Women Air Service Pilots) books I have read to date. For that do not know, WASP was created during WWII and was an organization of women pilots that trained at Avenger Field and ferried badly needed aircraft around the United States.

Fifinella, the WASP mascot
This novel contains a colorful cast of characters. The heroine is Sally. She's both tough and frightened. She's a terrific pilot, but she carries some baggage: a dead boyfriend and an abusive father. Thus, she has some confidence issues.

She meets up with other WASP trainees at Avenger, Twila, Geri, and Dixie. Each one of these women has things you like and don't like about her. Twila is strange, but has some good philosophies. Geri is a spoiled rich girl, but she can fly. Dixie.... oh my. This quote is self explanatory:

"I've got balls. They didn't come with this package" -she indicated her body- "but after watchin' my daddy float in a sea of prosperity while everybody around him drowned, I decided I'd better grow me a pair. And I did. They're the first thing I strap on every mornin' before I got outside to meet the world, and the last thing I unstrap at night before I slip into my frilly little pajamas. I've got balls!"

Dixie almost steals the show at times.

PT-19, What the girls first fly at Avenger

The men are colorful as well. There's Skinner, my personal favorite. He's an instructor with a hillarious way of stating things.

"That air was so still yesterday morning, I could have heard an ant fart."

"You don't know your ass from a whole in the ground!"

"But talk about this, and I'll stick my foot so far up your butt you'll feel my toes around your tonsils."

There's Beau who is Sally's love interest. He's partly a coward who wants to avoid the draft, a lousy pilot, but in the end, he has some good traits as well. A nice parting shot from him, "You try so hard at succeeding at life that you fail at living."

And we cannot forget Mr. Waterman. He's def the villian of this tale. For some reason, he not only wants to disband the WASP, but he is out to get Sally. He wants her license revoked and her life ruined and he has the power to do it.

I got to know all of the characters and I felt as though I was in the PT-19s with them. I felt as though I was the one shut up in a manure filled barn while my aeroplane got hailed on and stuck in mud. I cried with the WASP when they received word that their organization was no more. And I laughed. I laughed so much, my husband had to ask me why.

My favorite moment is when Sally is being rebuked by a Colonel who does not think women belong in the Army and is saying as much. He basically implies women belong at home having babies somewhat like the Nazi's women and Sally says, "If you're suggesting, Colonel, that I could better serve my country by whoring, let me assure you that airplanes are the only things I ride."


I highly recommend this one and readers, you won't regret flying with these gals.

An onion eyed moment, "I wouldn't trade a moment for anything. To be part of the war, and to be around those wonderful planes. To fly 'em. And the adventure . . . There'll never be another time like it. We were so lucky. So lucky. Of all the women in America, only a little more than a thousand of us got to be a WASP. My God, but we did fly the wings off those airplanes. We did it as well as any man!"

Five stars. I got this ARC from the publisher, thus some quotes may not be exact. A week from today, I will be posting an interview with Karl Friedrich.

1 comment:

  1. There is a giveaway for this one on Goodreads, ends tonight at midnight (3/29/11). Sounds like a good one to try to snag.