Monday, July 4, 2011

Book Review: Flight by Sherman Alexie

Flight is the second Sherman Alexie novel I've read this year, and I'm probably going to read several more. I've found that I really enjoy his writing style. Flight, the story of Zits, a sixteen-year-old half-Indian in foster care, is no exception. Zits is in a rough spot: he's been in and out of foster care and juvenile detention centers for most of his life. Since his Indian father never claimed him, he wasn't protected by ICWA (Indian Child Welfare Act, which would have required him to be placed within a racially appropriate foster family) and bounces from home to institution to kiddie jail and back again.

Everything changes when he meets Justice, a white kid, in a temporary holding cell. They move in together, and over a period of months, Justice convinces Zits to take his revenge on society by shooting up a bank. During the shooting, Zits gets shot in the head. Instead of dying, though, he is rocketed backwards in time, experiencing life as both and Indian and a white person at various times in the Old West. all throughout, he struggles to reconcile his identity as a doubly-alienated, green-eyed Indian. Alexie's gift for characterization shines throughout the novel, and the philosophical implications of Zits' journey are thought-provoking.

Great, but I wish it was longer (a lot of parts felt pretty rushed) and the historical flashbacks were more fleshed out. 4 out of 5 stars.


  1. I only wanted to knit the "slinky hat" but somewhere along the way my curiosity of your "book book read a book" found me putting the needles down, went to Borders (since it's closing down)and bought couple of books. I started reading "Flight" and could not put it down. I finished reading it an hour ago. In my mind I am still trying to answer some of the questions at the end of the book,also I am having some remorse for the many times I wanted to become a foster parent but not following thru with my gut feeling and just doing it. I can't wait to share this book with my daughter.

  2. I'm glad you enjoyed it! Sherman Alexie's books have a way of haunting you long after you finish.