I will just say that I have never read a novel quite like this one.  While I was reading it, I never wanted to put it down.  It was excellently written, I learned a lot, the characters were very well developed, and the plot was riveting.  When I finished the book however, I almost wished I hadn’t read it.  It is an 800+ page book, so you spend a lot of time with the characters  and the themes of this book.  The material is real life.  It happens – in fact, it is a fictionalized story based on the true events in the story of the Steven Truscott case.  But this is just one of those books where the author has an exquisite gift of describing the places, the times, the people, and the emotions.  800 pages is a lot of time for dwelling on the harsh realities that life sometimes offers. 

The book is set in the ’60s and centers around Jack McCarthy, who is an officer in the Royal Canadian Air Force, and his family.  The family is used to moving around, and as the story opens they are on the road to a new destination – Centralia, Ontario.  Centralia is the place where things are going to settle down for them.  Mimi (Jack’s wife) even dreams of a third baby.   “The sun came out after the war and our world went Technicolor.  Everyone had the same idea.  Let’s get married.  Let’s have kids.  Let’s be the ones who do it right.”  But in Centralia tragedy occurs.  The unthinkable.  And the strong, happy family begins to weaken.

A little girl is murdered.  Parents keep a closer eye, a tighter rein on their children.  It’s not the same safe neighborhood that it used to be.  Then the investigation seems to go wrong.  This part of the story is really amazing.   MacDonald brings together all the pieces of the story that she told so far to make it really only one story.  A conviction is made, but the McCarthy’s have doubts and regrets that carry on for many years.  Was it a wrongful conviction?  And how did that one event, in that one place and time, affect the lives of so many for years to come?

       The Way the Crow Flies is masterfully written.  Ann-Marie MacDonald has captured the essence of the times and the culture of the military family.  The story is intriguing and suspenseful.   Just be warned that the story will stay with you for awhile, and it is not a very pleasant story.

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5 Responses to “Review: The Way the Crow Flies by Ann-Marie MacDonald”

  1. Jules Says:

    Sounds like a good book. I’ve been very familiar with the Truscott case, although it happened before my time, so when I started reading the review I though the book was more based on a young boy and how the wrongful conviction affected him, but it seems to be from the other viewpoint, looks like a great read nonetheless. Great review.

  2. Literary Feline Says:

    This book surprised me in that it touched on so many experiences that I could relate too, mirroring my own at times, even though it was set in a different country and time period.

    I agree about the writing. This was one of my favorite books the year I read it.

    Great review!

  3. Darlene Says:

    I loved this book and you know I read it years ago now and I haven’t forgotten the story.

  4. leah Says:

    darlene – exactly. the story really stays with you, doesn’t it? it is such an amazing book in so many ways and yet the story is so . . . sad.

  5. lilly Says:

    I loved this book, leaves you with a lot to think and ponder upon.
    I don’t know if any of you read ‘Fall on Your Knees’ by the same author, but if you didn’t I defintely recommend it.

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