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The Art of Crash Landing: A Novel
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HarperCollins 2015
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Description

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 eight hundred 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 thirty-five 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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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
09/08/2015
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780062390554
ASIN:
B00R1R63E2
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Melissa DeCarlo. (2015). The Art of Crash Landing: A Novel. HarperCollins.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Melissa DeCarlo. 2015. The Art of Crash Landing: A Novel. HarperCollins.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Melissa DeCarlo, The Art of Crash Landing: A Novel. HarperCollins, 2015.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Melissa DeCarlo. The Art of Crash Landing: A Novel. HarperCollins, 2015.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 15:12:48
Date Updated:
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        Melissa DeCarlo was born and raised in Oklahoma City, and has worked as an artist, graphic designer, grant writer, and even (back when computers were the size of refrigerators) a computer programmer. The Art of Crash Landing is her first novel. Melissa now lives in East Texas with her husband and a motley crew of rescue animals.

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fullDescription

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 eight hundred 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 thirty-five 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.

reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Oklahoma Gazette
      • content:

        "Stunning...DeCarlo has loudly claimed her seat at the table of today's elite contemporary Southern women writers including Joshilyn Jackson, Fannie Flagg and Sue Monk Kidd. They continue the work of literary giants like Carson McCullers, Eudora Welty and Flannery O'Connor, crafting haunting stories about the peculiar, the impolite..." — Oklahoma Gazette

        "[A] pitch-perfect novel about family secrets, self-forgiveness and redemption...DeCarlo's debut novel's originality and fresh voice will endear her to readers...Every character in DeCarlo's novel is complex and richly drawn...this story is so vibrant and universally human that it's sad to see it end." — Dallas Morning News

        "DeCarlo has created a compulsively likable mess of a protagonist who will keep readers laughing and cringing — even as they begin really rooting for her...surprising, poignant and page-turning...a strong debut and a thoroughly entertaining read." — Fort Worth Star-Telegram

        "This first novel by an Oklahoma-born Texan is written with verve, assurance and some salty language." — Toronto Star

        "THE ART OF CRASH LANDING is full of heart and sass. It's about forgiveness, self-understanding, and the complicated love between mothers and daughters. Readers will root for DeCarlo's goofy, sharp-tongued heroine.... This is a sparkling, funny, and moving debut." — Edan Lepucki, author of CALIFORNIA

        "I especially enjoyed the small-town feel of this novel, getting to know the Grandy residents, like the librarian, her snarky niece and the wheelchair-bound lawyer who help (and hinder) Mattie in her quest. The humor and humanity shine through in this delightful debut." — Auburn Citizen

        "Grief, laughter, sarcasm, heartache, sadness—Melissa DeCarlo's debut novel has it all. Starting out with light-hearted humor thanks to the narration of its spunky protagonist, THE ART OF CRASH LANDING evolves into a compelling, genuine story about a woman's search for her identity." — BookPage.com

        "A success...Mattie made me laugh with some of her sarcastic remarks and her self-deprecating humor." — Oklahoman

        "In this tender story of self-discovery and forgiveness, Mattie uneraths secrets about the alcoholic mom she realizes she never really knew." — Good Housekeeping, Best New Reads

        "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

        "Mattie describes herself as a natural disaster, and she may on to something...Melissa DeCarlo's storytelling is strong and sure, genuinely moving and genuinely funny. Like her unlikely heroine, she's a force to be reckoned with." — Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of THE DEEP END OF THE OCEAN

        "Behind the smartass mouth of Mattie Wallace, our troubled protagonist, is a whole lot of heart, soul and humor...You won't stop reading THE ART OF CRASH LANDING until all the great mysteries of Mattie's messed-up life have been unravelled by the ever-wise Mattie herself." — Jessica Anya Blau, author of THE WONDER BREAD SUMMER

        "A dazzling debut that truly soars, about figuring out the tug of the past, about family mysteries and the marvels of forgiveness, and all of it features a spunky heroine readers won't be...

      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        July 6, 2015
        Decarlo’s excellent debut chronicles what happens when 30-year-old Mattie Wallace finds herself unearthing family secrets in her mother’s hometown. Mattie remembers her deceased mother, Genie, as a broken alcoholic who dated a string of losers—save for Mattie’s erstwhile stepfather, Queeg, with whom she still has a relationship. After being identified as the only surviving heir to her estranged grandmother’s house, Mattie spends all her money and ventures to the small town of Gandy, Okla. Her deadbeat boyfriend, Nick, who keeps calling, doesn’t know that Mattie is pregnant with his child. DeCarlo manages to make her heroine endearing despite her many flaws: she creates clever private jokes with the reader and slips in the occasional heartbreaking memory between brash shows of pushiness. Luke, a kindly paralegal, allows Mattie to stay at her grandmother’s property while the legal kinks get worked out, and Mattie takes a job at the library. People in town recall Genie as a vibrant blonde who had a music scholarship—an image Mattie has trouble reconciling with the bitter redhead who raised her. With a little nosing around, Mattie manages to get to the bottom of why her mother suddenly left town and became who she was. DeCarlo’s writing bristles with Mattie’s vibrant personality. The book’s final pages feel somewhat rushed and condensed after the long, leisurely story that unfolds earlier, but this doesn’t detract from what is otherwise a triumphant first novel.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        July 1, 2015
        A journey into her mother's past helps a young woman right her own future. Mattie Wallace is pregnant, broke, and lost. After shoving all her possessions into trash bags, she leaves her old life behind and once again ends up at her ex-stepfather's door hoping for a little guidance. Herman Isaacs, or Captain Queeg as Mattie fondly calls him, remains dedicated to his stepdaughter, even after his divorce from Mattie's mother and her subsequent death. Though Queeg is glad to see Mattie, he's a bit miffed by her flakiness-it turns out Mattie's been ignoring phone calls, including one from a lawyer in her mother's hometown of Gandy, Oklahoma. Queeg tells Mattie that her maternal grandmother has passed away, and Mattie once again hits the road, eager to claim her inheritance. Of course, this doesn't prove to be easy. Once in Gandy, Mattie learns that her grandmother's estate is meager, multiple creditors have claims against it, and the legal proceedings will take three months. For the time being, Mattie is given the key to her grandmother's house and ownership of two dogs, both named Winston. Mattie's mom was always a troublesome mystery who struggled with alcohol addiction and other unknown demons; and since her sudden death years earlier, Mattie's many questions about her past have remained unanswered. In Gandy, Mattie is forced to make sense of her mother's character and begins to understand the circumstances that led her mother to leave her life and family behind. Mattie's voice is fresh, her penchant for off-color language balanced with a revealing earnestness and vulnerability. Gandy's other residents are vibrant and well-developed, from stern library director Fritter Jackson, who's obsessed with obscuring the past, to JJ, a persistently surly neighbor. DeCarlo's debut is confident and accomplished, filled with heart and humor.

        COPYRIGHT(2015) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        September 1, 2015

        Mattie Wallace didn't mean to end up like her mother, but at 30 she's pregnant, broke, and on the run. While crashing at her stepfather's trailer, she receives a phone call from a law office in her (dead) mother's hometown of Gandy, OK. She barely makes it to town before her beat-up old car breaks down. While it's in the shop, Mattie speaks with Luke Lambert, the law firm's paralegal, and learns that she has inherited a house, money, and two dogs from her grandmother, whom she never met. The funds aren't available for three months, so she takes that time to learn who her grandmother was and what caused her mother to leave town when she was a teenager. VERDICT DeCarlo bursts on the scene with a fascinating, mysterious novel. The pacing is excellent and the prose fluid as the story unfolds in a combination of flashbacks and present-day scenes. This debut is thick with secrets; it will cause readers to question everyone and everything. The author does an outstanding job combining suspense with heartache, adding a dash of romance and, at the end, hope.--Erin Holt, Williamson Cty. P.L., Franklin, TN

        Copyright 2015 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        August 1, 2015
        Thirty-year-old Mattie Wallace is a self-described ninja when it comes to screwing things up. Daughter of a single mother who died five years earlier, she's close only to her former stepfather, a man she calls Queeg. Broke and pregnant, she storms out on her latest boyfriend in the Florida panhandle and takes off for small-town Oklahoma, where her maternal grandmother recently died. But the transmission in her 1978 Chevy Malibu dies, and her grandmother's estate is not readily available. Fortunately, the kindness of strangers, most of whom knew her mother, kicks in, giving Mattie the opportunity to uncover secrets, answer family questions, and ferret out her tangled ancestry. First novelist DeCarlo deftly weaves in flashbacks about Mattie's childhood and creates a cast of wonderfully full-blooded, fallible characters, from kind and ailing Queeg to Karleen, Mattie's mother's closest childhood friend, to potty-mouthed Goth teenager Tawny, the summer project of a no-nonsense librarian. Best of all is Mattie herself, who has cultivated a measure of humanity in addition to impressive survival skills and whose briskly told story is instantly involving. An impressive debut.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2015, American Library Association.)

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shortDescription

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 eight hundred 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 thirty-five years ago with nothing but the...

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