by Sherri L. Smith
Putnam Juvenile Hardcover
Release Date: January 22, 2009
Available for purchase
Why did you choose this book? I saw the cover and thought it looked interesting.
When did you read this book? November 2011
Who should read this book? readers who want to learn more about the role of women in WWII
Source: library checkout
Here is a synopsis of ‘Flygirl' from Goodreads, where it rates 3.88 stars.
Ida Mae Jones dreams of flight. Her daddy was a pilot and being black didn't stop him from fulfilling his dreams. But her daddy's gone now, and being a woman, and being black, are two strikes against her.
When America enters the war with Germany and Japan, the Army creates the WASP, the Women's Airforce Service Pilots - and Ida suddenly sees a way to fly as well as do something significant to help her brother stationed in the Pacific. But even the WASP won't accept her as a black woman, forcing Ida Mae to make a difficult choice of "passing," of pretending to be white to be accepted into the program. Hiding one's racial heritage, denying one's family, denying one's self is a heavy burden. And while Ida Mae chases her dream, she must also decide who it is she really wants to be.
I really enjoyed this book. I had heard about the WASP in WWII, but really didn’t know much about it. It was a surprise to me to learn that the WASP were not ‘officially’ part of the military. I think it will be interesting for young women born after 1970 to learn just how ‘unaccepted’ women were in a traditionally male occupation, and give some insight into how many more choices they have than did women just a few years older than them.
I also enjoyed reading about Ida Mae’s experiences as she passed for white and how difficult this role was for her. Though she didn’t actively decide to be white at the beginning, she did allow others to draw their own false conclusion. This created tension for her in keeping up the pretense, and division at home when her family did not support this pretense. It was frustrating, but enlightening, to see just how bad things were for African Americans in the 1940’s.
While I really enjoyed this book, one thing I really did NOT like was the ending. It just kind of left things hanging. The war ends, the WASP dissolves, and Ida Mae.....well, what DOES Ida Mae do? There are decisions to be made, but we really don’t know what she decides. Even so, this is a book worth reading and I recommend it for anyone middle school or above.
My Rating: ★★★★ 4 Stars