The Art of Crash Landing
A NovelBook - 2015
From a bright new talent comes this debut novel about a young woman who travels for the first time to her mother's hometown, and gets sucked into the mystery that changed her family forever
Mattie Wallace has really screwed up this time. Broke and knocked up, she's got all her worldly possessions crammed into six giant trash bags, and nowhere to go. Try as she might, Mattie can no longer deny that she really is turning into her mother, a broken alcoholic who never met a bad choice she didn't make.
When Mattie gets news of a possible inheritance left by a grandmother she's never met, she jumps at this one last chance to turn things around. Leaving the Florida Panhandle, she drives eight hundred miles to her mother's birthplace--the tiny town of Gandy, Oklahoma. There, she soon learns that her mother remains a local mystery--a happy, talented teenager who inexplicably skipped town thirty-five years ago with nothing but the clothes on her back. But the girl they describe bears little resemblance to the damaged woman Mattie knew, and before long it becomes clear that something terrible happened to her mother, and it happened here. The harder Mattie digs for answers, the more obstacles she encounters. Giving up, however, isn't an option. Uncovering what started her mother's downward spiral might be the only way to stop her own.
Hilarious, gripping, and unexpectedly wise, The Art of Crash Landing is a poignant novel from an assured new voice.
From Library Staff
SPL_Stephanie May 04, 2016
A full review of this title can be found under Summary. This review first appeared in the Stratford Gazette in May 2016.
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Broke, exhausted and pregnant, Mattie Wallace is the epitome of down and out. In her first novel, The Art of Crash Landing, Melissa DeCarlo captures the struggles caused by the loss of a loved one. While dealing with her grief, Mattie also bears the weight of regret, addiction and family mysteries.
This fast-paced novel takes readers on a week-long trip into Mattie's disheveled world. Upon immediate introduction to the 30 year old protagonist, it is apparent that ‘crashing’ is the only world she knows. This is especially evident when she is knocked up by a man she can't stand and leads a life that she has no control over.
After receiving a phone call identifying her as the benefactor of her grandmother’s will, Mattie treks to her deceased mother and grandmother's hometown of Gandy, Oklahoma in hopes of inheriting money. However, Mattie soon realizes that she has been left with a priceless possession: a glimpse into her mother's secret past. During a week-long quest for food, shelter and cash, Mattie embarks on a personal journey to solve the mysteries of who her mother truly was and why she left her hometown without a trace.
Readers that relish in stories driven by flawed and cynical characters will particularly enjoy this title. Although Mattie’s self-absorbed and destructive character is frustrating at times, we can all identify with knowing someone that uses people to get ahead. Sometimes you are rooting for her to pick herself up. Sometimes you are cursing her manipulative and disgraceful ways. Regardless, this novel will tug at your heart strings and leave you puzzled as you unravel the many secrets that it holds.
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