Saturday, October 29, 2016

You Can Fly

You Can Fly. Carole Boston Weatherford. 2016. 96 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: No matter that there are only 130/ licensed black pilots in the whole nation. Your goal of being a pilot cannot be grounded/ by top brass claiming blacks are not fit to fly./ Your vision of planes cannot be/ blocked by clouds of doubt./ The engine of your ambition will not brake/ for walls of injustice--no matter how high.

Premise/plot: You Can Fly is a collection of poems--all written in second person, to you--about the Tuskegee Airmen. Readers can potentially learn a lot about flying and airplanes, the second world war, and race relations in the 1940s.

The perspective is unusual. But it oddly works for me.
You are in Class 42-C under all white command./ Your first lesson: to "Yes, sir!"/ and "Sir, no sir!" your officers.
The poems are still able to communicate a lot of details: names, places, dates, statistics, etc. Yet the poems are not dry and boring.
You love Hershey's bars,/ but letters from home are sweeter./ Hearing your name during mail call/ is like being lifted by a prayer.
My thoughts: I really enjoyed this one. I spent several years editing interviews for the Women Airforce Service Pilots. So while there are definite differences--big differences--between the two groups, it did give me an understanding or appreciation for training and flying at that time. My love of World War II is what led me to this one, not specifically the poetry. But the poetry is lovely I have to say!

It is a short, compelling read. It made me wish that MORE history subjects were covered through poetry. (Though not just any poetry would do, I suppose!)

I love the fact that it is just eighty pages. I do. In school, when I was on the younger side, when assigned to read a "nonfiction" book to give a report, I always looked for the SHORTEST book no matter the subject.

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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