“Flight” by Sherman Alexie is a book that I have been meaning to read for a long time. I finally sat down with it, and it was a lot harder to read than I thought. It’s not because it’s poorly written, it’s because the themes in the story resonate with me so well that I had to put things down and reflect. The greatest books in the world are books that involve massive emotional pulls from your heart forward. If a book can’t grab your heart, then you have to approach it academically alone. That’s not what this book does, and it’s not what Alexie does, he pulls your guts out in this book that really hits home for many of us that have struggled with life, depression, and more.
Woa! Sorry to stop your flow of reading. I wanted to interject and say that this is an older review. I know, old content isn’t always great. However, if you’re reading this, just know that this is a review that I wrote after reading the book in 2018. I’m working on 2019’s reviews, and will post them as I can, but this is from my archives. Sorry to break up the flow again, just continue reading, and please try the fish! I mean, buy the book.
The story revolves around time traveling. Zits is the main character, he is an orphaned Native American teen and he discusses everything in first person. This first person narrative is gut wrenching, real, and definitely on par with some of the most iconic stories I remember. Not since “Mysterious Skin” have I felt so bad about life, and this book definitely takes me to dark places. Zits is a time traveling mass murderer, filled with rage, filled with depression, and is misunderstood throughout. He jumps through various bodies and focuses on talking to various people from different perspectives while reflecting on his own life and actions.
Belonging to something is hard. I don’t belong. I am a loner. I’m a freelance writer and work from home. I’m always alone, and I struggle with my thoughts. Zits portrays a severe element that is in all of our humanity, and it’s in regards to relationships. He is being bounced around from home to home as an orphan. Foster parents are the worse, and the details of how he comes to the latest location is rough. He struggles to fit in, he struggles as a Native American, he’s been abused, and he wants to burn down the world because no one seems to accept him at all. The struggle of belonging hits me hard, because I have no major friends, no minor friends for that matter. I haven’t had a phone call in years, and I struggle with depression. I have for a long time. Sherman Alexie paints teenage angst with the mind of an adult, because as a teenager, sometimes it’s not about the girl that got away it’s about how society views us as different. If you have brown skin, you’re different. If you don’t want to adhere to norms, you’re different, and never belong. Zits doesn’t belong.
Zits jumps from time zones to individuals across various points in history. He’s a pilot one day, he’s an Indian hunter in another, he’s a police officer, and he is many things. He goes through the lives of various people in first person. He even sees his father, his mother, and details the alcoholism that grips him and his family. Alexie juxtaposes the realities of Native American culture so well and it’s fascinating. If you know anything about the struggles of Native Americans today, then you realize that Alexie is not just writing about Zits, he’s writing about a larger population that is struggling with alcoholism, defeated by American society, and struggling for new memory.
“Flight” by Sherman Alexie gets 5 out of 5 stars. It’s a strong book with an incredible first person tale of time travel, depression, alcoholism, abuse, and more. It hurts to read sometimes. If you have experienced the degradation of abuse, if you have felt the sting of not belonging, and you struggle with depression, this book will hit you hard. It is hard to read if you are struggling with mental health, but there is a silver lining. The book is just something to behold, a narrative into fiction to tell you that you’re not alone. It’s a fascinating read, and Alexie knows how to really paint a first person narrative with soul. I’m impressed.
You can buy “Flight” by Sherman Alexie by clicking here, and ordering it from amazon.com