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Thoughts on “Flight” by Sherman Alexie (Audiobook)

The only book by Sherman Alexie I’d listened to before Flight (or read, for that matter) was The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian, but I knew I wanted to read more. Cass of Bonjour, Cass! mentioned that fans of one might be fans of the other, so I borrowed Flight on audio from my library.

About the Book:

Flight by Sherman Alexie (cover)Zits is not what you’d call a good kid. He fights with his foster parents and has run away from a rapid succession of foster homes. He gets drunk with homeless bums on the streets of Seattle. He’s been in and out of jail plenty of times. It’s clear he’s headed down a bad road. And he’s only fifteen.

Zits’s real name isn’t Zits, but that’s the nickname he’s adopted because of his acne, and that’s what everyone calls him–even the cops, who pick him up so often they know him by name. Zits never knew his father, an Indian and an alcoholic who left when Zits was born; his Irish mother died of breast cancer when Zits was a kid. He has no one.

That’s about all we know about Zits initially. But throughout what happens next, we get to know him very well indeed.

My Thoughts:

Flight is a perfect example of why I prefer to know as little as possible about a book going into it, and of why I try to keep my book summaries on Erin Reads right at the beginning of a book. I had no idea what to expect from Flight. I assumed I knew what to expect from it after listening to the first couple of chapters. I was so wrong.

There were moments, listening to Flight, that I literally got chills. One of the things that impresses me most about Sherman Alexie is that he is not afraid to be bold. He does not sugar coat or sweet talk. His writing is raw and honest and penetratingly truthful. He can do things that would seem cheesy or contrived if anyone else tried them, but when he does them, you sit up and pay attention. You are enthralled.

Flight, like The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian, masterfully takes you inside the mind of its protagonist. You know what he is experiencing, because he makes you experience it with him. Zits (Flight) is more troubled than Junior (True Diary) is, more extreme, more prone to violence, but no more or less human. They are both characters of the highest caliber, crafted by an author who clearly knows what he is doing.

I was leery of listening to anyone by Alexie read a novel by Alexie, because of how much I loved The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian and how amazingly Alexie read it. Adam Beach read Flight, and he did so spectacularly. As fully as Alexie became Junior, Beach became Zits. Beach far surpassed my expectations and produced a fantastic audiobook.

Basically? I loved Flight. It’s got a sharper edge to it than The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian does, and I’ll probably be more likely to recommend True Diary as a first Alexie novel when asked. But for myself, I love them both. As a second Alexie novel? Flight, absolutely.

Those are my thoughts. Check out Flight by Sherman Alexie on GoodReads or LibraryThing, read other bloggers’ reviews, or listen to an Audible sample!

Your Turn!

Alexie fans: what do I read next?

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  • http://www.theliteraryomnivore.wordpress.com The Literary Omnivore

    I’m reading The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian for my young adult and children’s literature class—I’m really looking forward to it.

    • Erin

      I hope you enjoy it. I think it’d be a great book to read for a class.

  • http://www.eclectic-eccentric.com Trisha

    I’ve read nothing by Alexie but it looks like I should.

    • Erin

      Yes! He’s amazing. At least…I think so, so far :-)

  • http://perduedansleslivres.blogspot.com virginie

    I still have to read The Absolutely True Diary. And then I think I’ll probably read some short stories.

    • Erin

      I haven’t tried his short stories…good idea! I hope you love Absolutely True Diary!

  • http://www.ragingbibliomania.net/ zibilee

    Oh, you make this book sound absolutely unmissable. Bermudaonion just gave me a copy of Diary of a Part Time Indian, and I am so excited to read it after all the praise it has received on the blogs, and this one is very high on my list now as well. Erin, that was a wonderful review, and you have made me really excited about this book!

    • Erin

      If you end up liking Absolutely True Diary, definitely give Flight a shot. I don’t know how it is in print, but the audio is spectacular. It’s under five hours long, too…so maybe even though you don’t have a lot of audiobook time, it might work for you! I hope Alexie works out for you!

  • http://www.buriedinprint.com BuriedInPrint

    Because I fell in love with Part-Time, I read a couple of others last year as well, Reservation Blues and Indian Killer. They are quite different stylistically, but I enjoyed them both immensely: I think you would too. I’ve got a copy of Flight at hand, and am now all-the-more keen to read it: thanks for the additional encouragement!

    • Erin

      Thanks for the recommendation — I have Reservation Blues, so maybe I’ll go there next. It’ll be interesting to read a book by Alexie, since thus far I’ve only listened to them. If you’ve liked so much of Alexie’s other stuff, I definitely think you’ll enjoy Flight!

  • http://www.derapsreads.blogspot.com Mrs. DeRaps

    I DO love this book and think that you’re right–It defies plot expectations. Thanks for sharing your thoughts–I love this author!

    • Erin

      I’m glad you loved Flight, too! I was completely not expecting it to go where it went, but I thought it was wonderful.

  • http://www.thingsmeanalot.com Nymeth

    I NEED to read some Sherman Alexie! The blogging world has been telling me to for a good 3 years now. About time I listen 😛

    • Erin

      Yes! Yes! Yes! They’re quick (at least, the YA ones are) but so amazingly wonderful. The entire blogging world can’t be wrong, can it? :-)

  • http://loveyalit.com Em (Love YA Lit)

    I enjoyed “Flight” – also listened to it – and I was in tears by the end which is always a good sign of both good storytelling and a solid audio performance. I first saw/heard Adam Beach in the movie “Smoke Signals”, which was also my introduction to Sherman Alexie as he wrote the screenplay. I suggest you check out “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist Fight in Heaven” next – this was my first Alexie read and is the text that Smoke Signals is based on.

    • Erin

      Yes! I hit the teary point a couple of times. I’ll add The Lone Ranger… to my list. Thanks for the recommendation! I’ve never seen Smoke Signals, but now maybe I’ll have to!

  • http://bonjourcass.com Cass

    Okay, it sounds like I need to listen to the audio! I fell in love with Flight the first time around, and I think rereading it in another medium will help keep that excitement.

    Dare I suggest reading War Dances next? It’s a collection of short stories/poems but they’re all interconnected and it’s a bunch of amazing sauce.

    • Erin

      YES, listen to Flight! It was amazing. So good.

      My library has War Dances, on audio even! It’s going onto the list. Thanks :-)

  • http://www.lovelaughterinsanity.com Trish

    I’m finding myself not even really wanting to write what a book’s about in my posts! most times I skip other people’s summaries and go straight to the thoughts–like you I love knowing very little about a book going in. For some reason, people’s reactions seem to be a better indicator to me.

    Ok, checking RIGHT NOW to see if my library has a copy. Fingers crossed….

    • Erin

      I’m always torn, because I want to give people some sense of what a book is about so that I can talk about my reaction from a common knowledge base, but I don’t want to reveal too much! Some books that’s easy to do, but others it’s really hard…like this one. It is interesting, though, to see how different people summarize the same book — what each person picks out as important and what s/he omits. Overall, though, like you I tend to prefer people’s personal reactions to a summary for judging whether I’m interested in a book.

      Does your library have Flight??

      • http://www.lovelaughterinsanity.com Trish

        Not my home town but a local town where I also have a card-looks like I’d have to go pick up the CDs, though, rather than download online. Maybe when it’s warmer outside. 😉