From a bright new talent comes this debut novel about a young woman who travels for the first time to her mother's hometown and gets sucked into the mystery that changed her family forever.
Mattie Wallace has really screwed up this time. Broke and knocked up, she's got all her worldly possessions crammed into six giant trash bags and nowhere to go. Try as she might, Mattie can no longer deny that she really is turning into her mother, a broken alcoholic who never met a bad choice she didn't make.
When Mattie gets news of a possible inheritance left by a grandmother she's never met, she jumps at this one last chance to turn things around. Leaving the Florida Panhandle, she drives 800 miles to her mother's birthplace - the tiny town of Gandy, Oklahoma. There she soon learns that her mother remains a local mystery - a happy, talented teenager who inexplicably skipped town 35 years ago with nothing but the clothes on her back. But the girl they describe bears little resemblance to the damaged woman Mattie knew, and before long it becomes clear that something terrible happened to her mother, and it happened here. The harder Mattie digs for answers, the more obstacles she encounters. Giving up, however, isn't an option. Uncovering what started her mother's downward spiral might be the only way to stop her own.
Hilarious, gripping, and unexpectedly wise, The Art of Crash Landing is a poignant novel from an assured new voice.
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Sass, heart and refreshingly unpredictable.
Poignant, Sassy, Vibrant
Her last conversation with Queequegq, her stepfather.
This review I have pasted below particularly sums up the satisfaction I felt after listening to this amazing first novel. The narration by Johanna Parker swept me right into the story and had me rooting for Mattie all the way through.
“I fell in love with Mattie, with all her sass, her snark, her bad ass ways. The best compliment I can give this talented new author? I wish I had written this novel. You nailed it, Melissa DeCarlo. And you deserve legions of very happy readers.” — Ellen Sussman, author of A WEDDING IN PROVENCE and FRENCH LESSONS
- Linda Kane
A must read debut novel
This is a must read for this year. Past must reads for me were the Alan Cumings autobio, and Gone With the Wind, and the long Eisenhower bio.
I didn't want to like Mattie, but I ended up really admiring her unapologetic vitality. Actually, the book is full of flawed characters just trying to adjust to their own humanity. The book is very well written: I learned much about writing and editing in this book, and I always appreciate that. That allowed the story to shine through.
Right in the beginning, when Mattie is riding in the tow truck, and I'm realizing that I'm rooting for her to just catch a break, and recognize it, and capitalize on it.
I love Johanna Parker's narration. She is one of my favorites because she reads the books: I can distinguish the characters because of her different voices and inflections, and she doesn't over-dramatize the readings. Some BOTs I have to quit and read the paper book because of the reader's over-dramatization. Johanna Parker is one of my go-to readers when I need a sure thing.
- L. Zeller