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Flight

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  8,504 ratings  ·  1,389 reviews
Sherman Alexie is one of our most gifted and accomplished storytellers and a treasured writer of huge national stature. His first novel in ten years is the hilarious and tragic portrait of an orphaned Indian boy who travels back and forth through time in a charged search for his true identity. With powerful and swift, prose, Flight follows this troubled foster teenager--a ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published April 17th 2007 by Grove Atlantic Black Cat (first published 2007)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Colin
Flight has a great narrative voice, and addresses important themes of revenge, violence, historical trauma and forgiveness. Alexie combines his poetic skill and humor adroitly to address these complex themes.

Yet the book was still rife with the major issues that turned me off from Alexie several years ago, that are part of why I think he remains so popular with white people in particular. He writes that all Indians are alcoholics again (including our narrarator), even going so far as to offer a
...more
Catie
I love books that make me stretch and consider and think, but this book has no subtlety. Reading this book is like being hit in the face with a sledgehammer over and over again. I mean sure, it’s a sledgehammer of compassion and nonviolence and I quite agree with its form and purpose and all, but getting smacked with it still smarts. I need for messages and ideas in fiction to be woven into the story more closely; I need to work at their meanings and root them out myself, so they feel like they’ ...more
Anna
Aug 11, 2012 Anna rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Harold Terezon, Eric Wat
Sherman Alexie's Flight was a quick read, a much sparser book than his first novel, Indian Killer. That earlier work was more dense, much darker. I actually appreciated that first novel very much -- it was an angry, despairing book that captured well the continuing struggles and tensions of a modern-day rez-Indian and its dark, unrelenting sensibility was disturbing yet poignant too.

At the LA Times Book Festival, I heard Alexie talk about Indian Killer which he says he hates. He felt it was so a
...more
Emma (Miss Print)
Published in 2007, "Flight" is one of Sherman Alexie's more recent novels. His critically acclaimed YA debut "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" came out a few months after "Flight's" publication. Together these novels illustrate how teen narrators can comfortably inhabit both adult and young adult novels. More about that later.

The book starts with a simple request from the narrator: "Call me Zits. Everybody calls me Zits." In other words, the narrator has no name. Given the struct
...more
Thea
Sep 26, 2007 Thea rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who likes crying in public places
I really liked this book a lot. It made me cry on the subway. This is the official review I wrote of it:

In Flight Sherman Alexie’s message is that everything is perspective, and it’s delivered in an original, moving, hilarious and intensely persuasive way.

Flight shocks its readers by presenting extremely sympathetic characters, who then do horrendous things. Zits, a half white, half Native 15 year-old orphan, has been abused and neglected most of his life. Moments after committing a shocking ac
...more
Clint Jones
Feb 15, 2008 Clint Jones rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: EVERYONE
I love this book!!! However, I must say, with a bit of sadness, that this is not Alexie's best book. Alexie is at his best when his prose is poetic, thought provoking,and humorous all at once. And, while this book certainly has its moments, it fails to substain the sentence-after-sentence, page-after-page trance that Alexie's writing is capable of producing. What I love about this book is how it has gotten my high school students, who would normally not even consider reading a book, to consume t ...more
Emily
I wept the whole way through it. This book is marvelous. It bleeds empathy and compassion and is one of the most sincere, gut-real, open-eyed, forgiving, hopeful novels I've read this year so far. I love this book. The wit and charm of the teenage boy narrator kept me giggling and grinning, and the tone switches were so subtle and genuine and seamless that I would cry and laugh at the same times. Sometimes I would just cry. I am achingly pleased with Alexie and can't wait to pick up another of h ...more
Daniel
I am sad that "Flight" was my introduction to Sherman Alexie, because I did not care for it, and, given the widespread praise that he has received, I suspect that it does not represent his best work. Many things about this book did not work for me. The time-travel device is forced upon the story to serve Alexie's agenda, which in turn breezed through a few historical anecdotes that were themselves shallow. The revelations that Alexie produces in these episodes, though weighty, are not surprising ...more
gina
I once was a social worker and I can tell you, Alexie delivers an accurate account in a short amount of time of the struggle of many of these kids, and why they do the things they do. I love where his mind goes. I love how he writes. The narrator did the BEST job on this book. I cannot say enough good things about Sherman Alexie. One of the best writers of our generation and I wished this was required reading for both foster parents and social workers. Aside from that, the social overview of whi ...more
Ruby  Tombstone [Uncensored or Else]
I like Alexie's writing, but this just wasn't written for me. It's a YA novel, and weighted heavily on the didactic side. "How To Survive Being A Native American Youth By Encountering Time Travel & Thereby Learning All The Major Lessons in Life" would have been an extremely accurate title.
The 40+ study questions in the back make me wonder if perhaps this was written as a facilitator's guide for an "at-risk youth" program.

I'm sure I'm being unfair, as I've really enjoyed Alexie's short ficti
...more
claire
I love Sherman Alexie's writing and have heard him speak on a radio program--what a loving, funny, open-hearted person. If you've ever read any of his short stories, you know how he can weave humor into seemingly dire situations. I can't wait to have a full week where I can read this new addition to his collection.

OK! I've read it and WOW. It only took me about 5 hours in total. Fast-paced and raw, this book was a roller-coater ride through not only history, but the life of the beloved "Zits"--
...more
Gloria
If you haven't discovered Sherman Alexi yet, I suggest starting now. I would start with the "Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time indian." And then I would pick up this book and lose yourself in it for about a 24 hour period. It is a short read, but filled with life lessons of understanding your past so that you can better understand yourself in the present. Zits is a 15 year old foster kid who has moved from home to home, staying somewhere sometimes for less than a few hours. He is part America ...more
Jennifer
Finished this on my drive home tonight. It was really good!

The person reading this book was perfection. Awesome inflection - I actually believed he was the main character - which pretty much never happens with me and an audio book.

I love Sherman Alexie books because I think he is a story teller and not just a writer. So the last two weeks I have listened to this wonderful story being read to me.

The nutshell of the story is about the journey of a teenager named "Zits". He is half Native Americ
...more
Autumn Brady
I do not think this is a book of hate (towards any race) but a book about self acceptance. Alexie has a sardonic sense of humour, a biting tongue, but also combines this with compassion in his stories. This story is really no different than his other works, even if in this particular novel he is heavy handed with some stereotypes. Stereotypes are real folks, not in the idea that all people fit their stereotypes but that they exist. I think that is what I felt him demonstrating here--people feel ...more
liz
Okay, so this was my first time ever reading Alexie. I had been kind of hesitant, since he's The Indian Author, and it makes me feel bad for all the other Indian authors floating around out there (I imagine the publishers: "Well, we got The Indian Author, we don't need to worry about finding any other ones!"). So, I was pleasantly surprised that his writing is so good.

The way the story is set up reminds me of The Law of Love, in that there's a ton of switching back and forth between other lives
...more
Liza
Sep 19, 2007 Liza rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
I’ve been meaning to read a book by Sherman Alexie for a while now, and after reading Flight, I now want to devour everything that Alexie has ever written or been associated with. Flight is the story of Zits, a teenage Native American orphan who repeatedly finds himself on the wrong side of the law. Upon meeting another lost teenager, Zits thinks he has discovered the outlet for his anger, but suddenly he is traveling through time to important eras of Native American history--both in the popular ...more
Molly
This is a really amazing book. While it is difficult to read at times, and I'm going to hold off a couple of years before I give it to my 12-year-old, it is wonderfully written. I went into it without really knowing anything about the book (other than I enjoy Sherman Alexie's writing) and so I don't want to spoil it for anyone else by sharing too much. Just know that it will be worth your time.
Mara
I randomly chose this book from the library because it didn't have a waitlist and was pleased to see my recently passed-away grandmother had put the same book on her wish list at audible.

It was a clever idea to have the main character jump around in time and place and body and use those experiences to discover his own place in the world. I was a little confused what the point was of some of the places/times/characters and whether the main character learned anything from what happened. The final
...more
Charissa
Ate this book up in about three days, cover to cover. Love Sherman Alexie. This one is a very believable journey into the heart of a troubled young Native American man, a teen, who has suffered through loss, mistreatment, foster care, and run ins with the law. Now he finds himself slipping through space-time, experiencing life through different lenses. Will it be enough to save him from his own self-destructive choices? This story is sort of like the shamanic version of Christmas Carol for orpha ...more
Jennifer
Flight is an apt name for this book since the theme appears throughout. In fact, I think of the book as a flight of fancy because the main character body hops from one time-period and social-economic status to the next. He is an angry, orphaned half-Indian who finds himself the body of an FBI agent on a reservation in the 70's, then a Native American boy during Custer's Last Stand, an Irish soldier during the same time period, a flight instructor during current times and finally his own absent f ...more
Stephanie
(My Rating: 8/10 Stars) Half-native American, half Irish-American, "Zits" is a 15-year-old orphan who's spent most of his life in foster care. His life has been shaped by poverty, abuse, and alcoholism. At the moment he commits a horrible, life-altering crime, he finds himself traveling through time, experiencing life through others' eyes. He learns a great deal about native American history, including wars between white men and Indians and atrocities committed on both sides. In the process, he ...more
deena kirk
Quite a rough first half. It took me a bit to warm up to the fantasy element of the read, however, the "ghosts" of past and present come together for the boy's future. I find myself on a conflicted plane with Alexie's story in this book. I do not love the harshness with with it is told. Yet, it would ring false for the main character if he had a softer viewpoint. I lived in South Dakota during my elementary school years. My father was an FBI Agent. He was transferred to Rapid City after the kill ...more
Kit
Alexie may have some problems with style here and there, but his presentation of material is always honest, emotive, and personal. Flight is a fascinating exercise and partial departure from the work of his that I currently known, to thought-provoking result.
The story follows teen-aged orphan and 20-time foster kid "Zits" who, after years of making trouble and being tossed from family to family has landed himself in jail again, where he meets a boy named Justice who shows him compassion. The tw
...more
Lizgreen79
this novel is appropriately named in the way it is experienced; it is a super quick read. the angst filled, distinctive adolescent narrator, "Zits. Call me Zits" (as the novel begins) has a remarkable voice, and Alexie weaves an engaging story...he even does some pretty interesting things with layers of voices as Zits possesses different bodies in his time travels...where Zits ends and the other characters begin gets pretty juicy. There was something about it though, that just felt vaguely contr ...more
Lindsay
Sherman Alexie's Flight is often beautiful and usually poignant. However, any novel written through the point of view of a 15-year-old boy can run the risk of annoying readers, especially if the character is written well (e.g., Holden Caulfield).

Alexie's narrator, a teenage orphan called "Zits," is written rather well. Losing his Indian father to homelessness and his Irish mother to cancer, chronic foster-child Zits is understandably angry. Like many angry teenage boys, "Zits" is vulnerable, b
...more
Kirsty
After reading Alexie's Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian I was looking forward to reading another of his books.

Flight is the story of, and is narrated by, Zits, a half white, half Native-American fifteen year old orphan with an acne problem and a tendency to move between foster-homes. After commiting an extreme act of violence as rebellion against his latest foster family, he finds himself on a trip back through time, stopping at a number of poignant times in the history of America. He
...more
Julia
May 24, 2011 Julia rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Students, teachers, parents
Recommended to Julia by: I read all Alexie -- I'm so glad he's writing ya!
Reread for a Library bookclub on race and racial issues. At my suggestion.

Zits is a fifteen year-old foster kid, who has lived in twenty homes, who is half Indian and half white, whose rage, lack of identity, loneliness and guilt defines him. He goes into a bank prepared to shoot the customers. Why a bank? Because poverty also defines Zits. And he winds up time traveling and body traveling through five other people.

First, is a white FBI agent who kills an Indian in 1975. Second is a mute 12 yea
...more
T.R.
Zits, the narrator, is a great vehicle for Alexie's humor and style. However on several levels the book either falls short of its ambition or uncomfortably strengthens stereotypes and cliched answers to teenage alienation and transformation.

Zits is certainly a likable self deprecating and insightful teenager. His struggles with self image, abuse, identity, family, criminalization, and the foster care system would be great opportunities for my students to reflect and examine their own lives. And
...more
Andy Mac
The book Flight by Sherman Alexie was a simple read with a complicated plot. I enjoyed reading a few chapters every night because I was able to analyze the readings and take things one 'flashback' at a time. The book is based on a character name Zits, who is in hi mid-teens and is of native American decent. His father left him when he was younger, and his mother died to breast cancer when he was six years old. He was sent to many different foster homes where he was taken advantage of and never r ...more
Cooper
Every student of American literature SHOULD read this novel because of the rampant symbolism and metaphors, which in themselves, allow students to easily detect and interpret such symbols in the book such as the meaning behind the planes, or subtle things the author implants. In addition, I thought the quest to find an identity resonates with everyone at some point in their lives, as they struggle to determine their place in the world and whether they are meaningful. The moral dilemma Zits faces ...more
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Sherman J. Alexie, Jr., was born in October 1966. A Spokane/Coeur d'Alene Indian, he grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Wellpinit, WA, about 50 miles northwest of Spokane, WA. Alexie has published 18 books to date.
Alexie is an award-winning and prolific author and occasional comedian. Much of his writing draws on his experiences as a modern Native American. Sherman's best known works in
...more
More about Sherman Alexie...
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven Reservation Blues The Toughest Indian in the World Indian Killer

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“What kind of life can you have in a house without books?” 115 likes
“I learned how to stop crying.
I learned how to hide inside of myself.
I learned how to be somebody else.
I learned how to be cold and numb.”
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