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Takeoffs and Landings

Review

Takeoffs and Landings

Takeoffs and landings. I guess they're the best parts of going on a plane. Then again, I've been on so many flights that they all just meld together. This is not the case for Lori and Chuck Lawson, two teens stuck in Pickford County, Ohio. Neither has been on a plane, not once --- they've been living with their grandparents and siblings on the family farm ever since their father passed away. Widowed and without a profession or a degree, their mother Joan had to find a job to support her five children. She becomes a motivational speaker, traveling across the country to speak at conferences, and she is rarely home.

Lori is resentful of her mother's trips, always wishing that her mom was there for her, both physically and emotionally. Clumsy Chuck is busy struggling with teases and taunts from peers and constant nagging from his grandfather. The younger children don't remember a time when their mother was home for more than three weeks at a stretch.

When Joan decides to make up for her absences by taking Lori and Chuck with her on a trip across the country, what will happen? Relationships change and secrets are uncovered as Haddix reveals an aspect of the bond between mother and child that not many people understand. Can Joan Lawson ever make it up to her children?

The book is written from three different points of view: Lori's, Chuck's, and Joan's. Although each provides a different spin on the events in the novel, the constant change in speaker demands a lot of concentration. Haddix's idea is clever, but its execution is less so. The ending is predictable; there is no jolting surprise that makes you want to finish the book right at that very moment. On the positive side, however, the novel shows a family who struggles to overcome, which is very inspiring. Reading TAKEOFFS AND LANDINGS will make you feel good, even if you don't like to fly.

Reviewed by Lisa Marx on September 1, 2001

Takeoffs and Landings
by Margaret Peterson Haddix

  • Publication Date: September 1, 2001
  • Genres: Science Fiction
  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
  • ISBN-10: 0689832990
  • ISBN-13: 9780689832994