I just finished reading the award-winning novel of Connie May Fowler, Before Women Had Wings, last night. I am just so thankful that I found this book among the many piles of good reads in Book Sale and equally grateful that I didn’t let go of it. It’s such a nice read. I am not really one for a book critique but I know how to distinguish a good book from a not-so-good one. And this one truly deserves a 5 out of 5 stars.
Before Women Had Wings is a story of A nine-year-old girl named Avocet Abigail Jackson, and her family’s struggle towards normalcy. Bird, as she is fondly called, is a small town girl growing up in rural Florida in the 1960’s. She is daughter to alcoholic and physically abusive parents.She has a sister Phoebe and half-brother Hans whom she loves very much. Her father killed himself after hiring someone to beat her mother. After her father was buried, Bird’s mom decided that they will transfer to other town and start a new life there. Since they don’t have enough money, Bird’s mom accepted the offer of the little motel owner in Tampa, Florida, for them to stay in the small, dumpy trailer of the motel and her mom will work as bookkeeper so she could pay for the rent. Her mother became even more sober and she couldn’t seem to accept the fact that she’s left to care and raise her two daughters that’s why she kept blaming them for the death of their father, especially Bird. The little girl find solace in Jesus and she even fantasized her as her own boyfriend. Then she met Ms. Zora, a mysterious black woman who lives alone in a cottage near Bird’s school and comes to teach the little girl about dignity and her own capacity for forgiveness. Her mother disapproves of her being friends with Ms. Zora that’s why she kept her friendship with her in secret. In the end, it was Ms. Zora who helped Bird’s mom step up and do something to bring harmony and love back to her family again. Despite of all the physical, emotional, and mental pains that her mom caused Bird, she realized that she still loves her mom and that she wouldn’t want any other person to be her mom than her.
I love how this book could really make you hang on for hope. It is indeed an amazing tale of dignity and forgiveness. This is a good read especially for those who are fond of family stories–the struggles towards happiness. And the best part of it all, Connie May Fowler has a very unique and artsy way of stitching words together to create a powerful impact in the heart of the reader. Her words may be ordinary but the way she put them together was way beyond imagination. I really fell deeply in love with this book:-)