I Was Amelia Earhart
By Jane Mendelsohn
Completed July 16, 2009
What happened to Amelia Earhart and her ill-fated flight across the Pacific? The world may never know, but isn’t it fun to speculate? Did the Japanese shoot down her plane? Did she run out of fuel and dive into the ocean? Or, as Jane Mendelsohn proposed in I Was Amelia Earhart, was she was marooned on an island, living off fish and coconuts and having great sex with her navigator?
I Was Amelia Earhart is a speculative account of this famous aviator, who admittedly, I know little about. Amy Adams recently portrayed her in the movie Night at the Museum, and her depiction of Amelia inspired me to grab this book for Orange July. While Adams’ Amelia was spunky and fearless, Mendelsohn’s Amelia was troubled, depressed and suicidal. Lost in an unhappy marriage, Amelia took advantage of the worldwide flight to test her limits, not caring if she lived or died. It wasn’t until something bad happened on the flight – and her subsequent survival on a deserted island – that Amelia found happiness. All her life, Amelia wanted to be free. Coincidentally it wasn’t flying but seclusion that gave her this precious gift.
Short and sweet, I Was Amelia Earhart speculated into the “what ifs” of Amelia Earhart’s fate. Though I disliked the ending, I enjoyed Mendelsohn’s writing style (almost dream-like) and her development of a complicated heroine. It has inspired me to learn more about this famous woman.