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Erica Richardson

Clean Books to Engage and Inspire

BOOK REVIEW: The Simple Art of Flying




Review Format: 

(Created by my unpaid minion—whoops, business partner—Seth!) 

  • Up to 40 points are possible.
    • Cover - 5 pts "You can't judge a book by its cover, but you can judge its cover."
    • Intro - 5 pts "The journey of 1000 pages hopefully starts with a good one."
    • Main Story - 15 pts "What's a sandwich without the ham?" 
    • Ending - 5 pts "Out with a bang? Or 'I just found some new kindling!'"
    • Grammar 5 pts "Let's eat Grandma! vs. Let's eat, Grandma!" (grammar saves lives)
    • Creativity 5 pts "Hairy Pawter and the Wizard's Rock!" 
  • 35-40 points =  Must Read!
  • 30-34 points = Amazing
  • 25-29 points = Great
  • 20-24 points = Good
  • 10-19 points = Pass
  • 0-9 points = Nope!


 This cover is just beautiful! Like Seth says, "You can't judge a book by its cover, but you can judge its cover." Actually, in all honesty, I judge books by their covers. Why? Well, for me reading a book is about the whole experience. I like to look at the cover, feel its texture, flip through the pages while getting that waft of book smell. So, for me the cover is a big aspect of the book. 

The cover of The Simple Art of Flying definitely got me interested in reading the book. Not only is green my favorite color, but I'm always drawn to illustrated covers. I love the cartoony style of this art. Oh, and it doesn't hurt that a year or so ago I went through a hard-core parrot obsession. So seeing those cute African Greys on the cover definitely pulled me in! 

Interestingly enough, after reading the book, I felt that the cover didn't depict the story especially well, but I still think it's adorable. It succeeded in pulling me in! 



This book had me intrigued right from the start. If a sarcastic, somewhat-pessimistic baby parrot who cracks ridiculous jokes sounds interesting to you, give it a try! I like how the story switches between three perspectives, two humans and one parrot.   



I found this book to be beautiful, unique, and meaningful. It was a mixture of humor, poetry, lovable characters, and the innocence of animals and children. For me, there were deep messages about anxiety and how it affects our relationships and perspectives. Alastair's story teaches us how to experience grief and loss, and to let go and take a faith-filled step forward with new perspectives. I read it in three days.

I think to enjoy this book you've got to be a bit of an abstract thinker. The messages aren't always straightforward. The characters and story are super quirky and different. I enjoyed that it wasn't the typical, predictable storyline. 

I'll subtract a few points because there was a little bit of humor that wasn't my favorite. Nothing super inappropriate, but a few somewhat brash remarks/characters. (i.e. Gerbils who are cannibalistic.) 



The ending message is important and precious-and so relatable for me. 
I was surprised how much it touched me and got me thinking. I related to this book deeply because of my own journey with anxiety and OCD. While those are not obvious themes in the book, for me the messages really related to my own struggles and experiences. Alastair reminded me a lot of myself through trying times of my life. The ending was so charming and thought-provoking, delivering a positive message applicable for readers of all ages. 






If you find a book that's more creative than this, let me know. 



I highly recommend this book to a certain group of readers:
Readers who like something different, something quirky, characters that are real, raw, and lovable, and especially readers who might relate to themes of anxiety, missing a loved one, and searching for happiness. 


While I wouldn't consider this book a "mainstream must read," it's certainly a "must read" for those looking for a quirky, fun, meaningful, mental-health-themed adventure featuring animal characters.