“Flight” by Sherman Alexie ★★★★

Flight Spokane Tribe

Narrated in first person by “Zits,” a 15yo half-Irish, half- American Indian boy, we are able to see into the mind of a Native American kid who was abandoned by his father at birth, and then orphaned by cancer when his mother died when he was six.  He desperately feels the loss of both.  He’s a kid who, maybe more than most, really needed his parents in his life.  He has no sense of self because he is not truly accepted into the Indian community as he wasn’t acknowledged by his father.  He didn’t have his mother around long enough to teach him about his Irish heritage either.  He feels like a nobody. To top it off, he’s at a gawky age, skinny and with terrible acne.  Of course, being a troubled runaway and many-times foster kid, he’s never felt a sense of permanence anywhere.

After getting into a little trouble with the law, he meets another boy in jail who immediately becomes his best friend.  Justice is a couple years older than Zits, but he’s really smart and seems wise, making it easy for Zits to place him in a parental role and to put all his trust in his new friend.  When Justice talks him into committing a terrible atrocity, he doubts himself and his motives.  Something strange happens that carries him off on a string of trippy time-hopping events which puts him inside other people’s bodies in different points of history.

The result is we are able to see all sides and different points of view of people and events from the late 19th century to present day (2007) that have affected Zits’ life as well as his view of life and his view of himself as a Native American and overall human being.  In a sense, it’s about stepping into another’s shoes and in exploring the past, we can find the truth about ourselves.

Flight Sherman Alexie pic

Sherman Alexie

Flight by Sherman Alexie

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