When Sylvie Serfer met Richard Woodruff in law school, she had wild curls, wide hips, and lots of opinions. Decades later, Sylvie has remade herself as the ideal politician's wife--her hair dyed and straightened, her hippie-chick wardrobe replaced by tailored knit suits. At fifty-seven, she ruefully acknowledges that her job is staying twenty pounds thinner than she was in her twenties and tending to her husband, the senator.
Lizzie, the Woodruffs' younger daughter, is at twenty-four a recovering addict, whose mantra HALT (Hungry? Angry? Lonely? Tired?) helps her keep her life under control. Still, trouble always seems to find her. Her older sister, Diana, an emergency room physician, has everything Lizzie failed to achieve--a husband, a young son, the perfect home--and yet she's trapped in a loveless marriage. With temptation waiting in one of the ER's exam rooms, she finds herself craving more.
After Richard's extramarital affair makes headlines, the three women are drawn into the painful glare of the national spotlight. Once the press conference is over, each is forced to reconsider her life, who she is and who she is meant to be.
Written with an irresistible blend of heartbreak and hilarity, Fly Away Home is an unforgettable story of a mother and two daughters who after a lifetime of distance finally learn to find refuge in one another. (Synopsis from Simon & Schuster Audio)
Read by Judith Light- Unabridged 12CDs – Approximately 14.5 Hours
Judith Light does an excellent job narrating the story of a political wife who realizes she has become a prop for her husband. The books begins with Sylvie and Richard in a VIP airport lounge eating breakfast. Rather, Richard is eating the breakfast that Sylvie has gotten for him. Sylvie is eating the typical dieter’s breakfast and does not even get to finish that. In a car on her way from a speaking engagement, she learns that the news is breaking about her husband having a short-term fling with a younger woman and then getting her a job. We see Sylvie dealing with confronting her husband, doing the obligatory press conference, and then leaving for her grandmother’s house in Fairview ,CT.
The family includes two grown daughters- Diana, an ER physician, and Lizzie, a recovering addict. Diana has always been the poster child (literally in the photo ops) and Lizzie has been the family screw-up who is patronized by her parents and sister alike. Diana is in an unhappy marriage with a son Milo, and having an affair with one of her students. I must confess I disliked the character of Diana for ¾ of the book. Lizzie seems to be trying to put her life back in order, living with Diana, and putting up with her family constantly waiting for her to fail. She has started a friendship with a nice young man who works in the park service at the Liberty Bell.
Lizzie ends up at home with her dad for a short time, helping him get back on track. Sylvie is living her life in CT and has a gentleman friend. She has had the time to look at her life and her relationships with her husband and daughters. She realizes she has lost herself and her daughters to the needs of her husband and decides it is time to make changes. All three women and Milo end up in CT and the story really moves from then on.
I was worried this was going to be the typical fallen politician story but Richard is not the focus of the book. Ms. Weiner explores all the sides of the situation and makes one look at their own ideas about what should the wife do and what factors into her decision. It looks at the family dynamics of a home with a powerful and famous person. The ending makes sense given what has gone before it and it is not a neat wrap up. I ended up bringing the discs into the house and listening on my computer because I couldn’t wait to get to the end.