Cherylann's Reviews > The Pilot's Wife

The Pilot's Wife by Anita Shreve
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Dec 31, 11

bookshelves: fav-authors, feminist-themes, realistic-fiction
Read from December 30 to 31, 2011

I avoided this book for years because it had the "Oprah's Book Club" label on it. I typically don't like Oprah's Book Club books - or maybe I just don't want to be a lemming who mindlessly follows Oprah. Anyway. Like a lot of Oprah books this one is emotionally heavy. I felt like the flap copy gave away too much of the plot, which annoyed me. However, there were many things about this novel that I found refreshing - or refreshing compared to the muck I've been slogging through. First, the character development. Grief is a funny thing. Anyone who has had a major loss in their life can attest to that. While there are definite stages of grief, not everyone grieves the same way. From the first pages of the novel, the reader is invited along on Kathryn's journey as she grieves for her husband. Additionally, Jack, a character who is absent in the novel, also changes and develops as Kathryn grieves for him. Secondly, I like Shreve's craft of writing. The character development does not unfold in a linear manner as the plot unfolds. Instead Shreve uses vignettes - interludes between the main plot - to develop the characters, especially Jack. Third, I liked the ending. While I would have liked everything wrapped up in a neat package with a bow at the end of the novel, this is realistic fiction, and life doesn't also resolve things so clearly and neatly. The novel also ends with some ambiguity and some unfinished business. However, this section of the story is told. Kathryn is moving on and creating new stories, which, if they are to be told, will be told in different novels. Finally, I've read a number of Shreve's novels, and as I've said before, I've avoided this one because of the Oprah seal. However, I liked that this novel is a familiar setting. The town and house will show up in future books.
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