Thursday, May 29, 2008

"Flight of the Dragonfly" Melissa Hawach

I had high hopes for “Flight of the Dragonfly” by Melissa Hawach. Recently I have been reading non-fiction and I’ve been finding the stories contained within those pages both exciting and interesting. Most recently I’ve read “Bringing Home the Birkin” and “The Middle Place”, two very different books with equally interesting stories. “Flight of the Dragonfly” is the true story of Melissa Hawatch, a mom who loves her children more than anything else, and the shocking way in which they are kidnapped by their own father and brought to Lebanon, a war zone at the time. This book chronicles Melissa’s struggle to get her girls back home safely, out of the clutches of their (possibly unbalanced) father. It tells us of the decisions that Melissa had to face, the agony that she went through as she decided which was the best way to get her daughters home. It tells of the massive debt accumulated, the kindness of so many, and of the danger encountered along the way. All of these elements made for an exciting story, but I found that the entire thing, unfortunately, fell flat.

The story was, at times, randomly assembled. We would be at one place in the story, and then without notice, we would be in another place, at another time. I would have enjoyed the book more if it made a little more sense chronologically. Often I found myself trying to figure out what in the heck was going on, and if I had missed something along the way. I also found the story whiny at times. Don’t get me wrong, I cannot imagine what it would be like to be separated from my own three children, to have them kidnapped by their own father and residing in a different country altogether. That’s not the part that I had the problem with. Several times Melissa mentions that she was the one offering support to others in her time of need, and the way in which she said this seemed to me awfully ungrateful. She would be telling us of the hundreds and thousands of dollars that were lent to her in her time of need. She would tell us of how people were giving up their own lives in order to get hers back, how they travelled many miles and spent time away from their own families just to be with her, and here she is telling us that SHE was the one doing the comforting. Perhaps I’m just taking the whole thing wrong. My opinion is that the book was maybe not given the time it needed to truly develop. Maybe Melissa is just not a great writer, or maybe the book was rushed into publication, but sometimes the book just didn’t gel for me.

This was a great story, one that did indeed need to be told. Perhaps the storytelling itself fell short of my expectations, but I’m sure that it will bring awareness to a very frightening issue that needs to be addressed.

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