Annie Shaw wanted to fly for as long as she could remember. Her father was a pilot in the Korean War, and when he was home she would eavesdrop on his late night conversations with his buddies while they traded combat stories. After a family tragedy that occurs when she is young, Annie assumes a focused, self-analytical perspective on her life that borders on unnatural. She is driven to fly. She wouldn’t know what to do if she were unable to have the freedom of flight.
As an adult, Air Force Captain Annie Shaw is married to a civilian. When Annie is deployed to the Gulf War, she must leave behind the man who knows her best. As an aviator, and as the only female in her unit, she must be focused on her job at all times. Annie must compartmentalize her feelings in order to manage the struggle between her two lives.
Ponders gives us a frank, poignant glimpse into the bared soul of a woman dealing with the reality that she must give up part of herself in order to pursue her passion. The first-person point of view is enthralling and easily leads us between the past and the present, as though we are in conversation with the main character. This novel is also gripping because of the Gulf War setting.
Even though this is a work of fiction, you can feel the pull of authentic details the author used from her own experience as one of the first US female pilots to fly in combat. The Art of Uncontrolled Flight, Ponders’s debut novel, is simply powerful.
Title: The Art of Uncontrolled Flight: A Novel
Author: Kim Ponders