Eyes Turned Skyward

Morrow. Oct. 2022. 400p. ISBN 9780063144767. pap. $17.99. F
Kathy Begley has always had a contentious relationship with her mother, Peggy Mayfield. As the youngest and the only girl of four boys, Kathy felt pressured by her mother to excel and to do something grand with her life. When Peggy calls Kathy to say that she has fallen and hurt herself, Kathy’s world is shaken. As Kathy cares for Peggy, she begins to learn more about her mother, including a secret that Peggy hoped to keep hidden. Peggy, in 1943, is a young woman determined to become a Women Airforce Service Pilot (WASP). She makes quick friends with her fellow WASP trainees, and, in the program, finds purpose and the cure for the restlessness that had plagued her throughout her life. The narrative flips back and forth between Peggy fighting against sexism in the 1940s to Kathy fighting against her mother’s stubbornness in 2009–10. As Peggy and Kathy heal old wounds, Kathy learns why her mother pushed her so hard and the reasons behind her mother’s mercurial moods.
VERDICT Readers seeking a nuanced portrayal of mother-daughter dynamics as well as a soaring portrait of courageous women during wartime will find much to love in Dillon’s (The Happiest Girl in the World) latest.
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