What a gut punch of a novel! Paper Airplanes is a story of September 11th written by a woman whose husband worked in the towers and by a twist of fate survived. In this story, we see the impact of a death in this tragedy on a young woman. Her husband is killed (quite graphically – in the opening scenes of the book) in the collapse while his wife Erin is in Mallorca with a friend. The two were relatively newly married and prior to his death, Erin was struggling with the binds of marriage.
We see Erin’s struggle to get home in the early aftermath and her reluctance to believe that Daniel is really gone. We get glimpses of the days and weeks following the event but the story mainly follows Erin through her stages of grief, coping (not always in a healthy way) and acceptance. She swings through self destruction to finding a way to live productively despite the fact that she felt responsible for all of the decisions that led Daniel to be in the towers in the first place.
The story is a beautiful snapshot of the impact of grief. We see how all of the people around Daniel cope differently with his death and how hope can come from the most terrible circumstances. Erin isn’t always likable and quite often makes choices that make you cringe but the tone of those decisions felt authentic. The paper airplane connection that runs throughout the story is cute. This novel reminded me a lot of In Five Years, it tackles a very heavy topic with moments of romance, the pursuit of happiness and hope.
Thanks to Booksparks for a copy of this novel. All opinions above are my own.
Where is the last place you flew to?