Saturday, July 14, 2007

Angels of a Lower Flight

Simon & Schuster
Release date: October, 2007
326 pages

Note: This review has been revised to removed all references to the author's name, due to a large number of hits I've recently received - in search of photos from her sordid past.

I received Angels of a Lower Flight from Simon & Schuster, began reading it two days later, and stayed up till the wee hours of the morning to finish. It's a strange and powerful story of the twisted road that led the author from a childhood of abuse to modeling for Pl*yb*y magazine and, finally, life as a happily married woman who spends her time helping ill and deformed children in Haiti - children who would ordinarily be left to die.

I was absolutely awe-struck by the horror the author has lived through but even more amazed at how she's managed to turn a horrific childhood into the building of a caring organization in a crime- and poverty-ridden nation. Her story of both her own life and the history of the Mercy and Sharing Foundation is jarring in many ways and not for the faint of heart, but definitely an incredible story that needs to be told. Angels of a Lower Flight is shocking, heartrending and inspiring.

The story is, I should add, not particularly well-written. The author quit school in the 10th grade to model, as much to get out of her childhood home as to make money. Yet, it's a compelling read and I hope that her book brings some attention to the plight of the impoverished and unwanted children in Haiti, as well as the corrupt government and the sale of orphans for adoption. One of the most fascinating aspects of this story is that the author's childhood was so traumatic that she's seemingly fearless, enabling her to walk around freely in areas where even the citizens of Haiti are afraid to tread because of gang warfare.

I suppose that I just armchair traveled to Haiti. Scary as it was, I'm going to count it.


  1. You should definitely count it! It's still travel, even if it's to somewhere awful. It sounds sad, inspiring and compelling...

  2. Thanks; I did go ahead and add it to my list, GR. "Sad, inspiring and compelling" are all accurate words. It's not an easy book to read, but Haiti is apparently a much-overlooked nation and it's really astounding what the author has accomplished.

  3. That sounds so heartbreaking. I would try to find a more uplifting book about Haiti, so your view of it isn't clouded by the dark side. Seems like a terrible impression to have of the place.

  4. Kookie,

    She left me with the impression that there's very little that isn't "clouded by the dark side" in Haiti. It was much more horrifying than I'd imagined and I was really impressed at her fortitude. I'd have turned around and climbed right back on the plane.

  5. Wow, this sounds fascinating in a very sad way...I'm going to have to check it out.

  6. I'll have to look for this one, Nancy. Do you know if it's out yet?

    Have you read anything by Edwidge Danticut? She writes about Haiti and I have enjoyed the two books I read by her. They are fiction, but have some historical bits that are quite interesting--some very sad.

  7. It sounds like another book for my list, but, after reading Firestorm at Peshtigo, I'm not sure I could take this one at the moment.

    Why are so many good books so sad?


  8. Chris,

    It was an odd blend of horrifying and uplifting. I should warn you the book isn't scheduled for release till October.


    It's not out yet; the scheduled release date is October. I didn't even bother to look at the release date when I read it; I just picked it up to start reading and couldn't put it down.

    Nope, haven't read any Danticut, although I've flipped through a couple of her books and put them back down. I can't say why; it's possible they looked like they were going to be too sad. The history of Haiti is definitely a sad one. I didn't realize there aren't any indigenous people left at all, not one.


    It won't be out for a while, anyway, so you have time to concentrate on something a little more upbeat! I think there are a lot of sad books in part because there's a lot of sadness in the world and (the part I don't get) because there's some warped image of literature that makes some people assume literary works must be sad. I just finished a novel that was literary and very uplifting, in the end, so she nicely disproved that concept (The Ocean in the Closet by Yuko Taniguchi - it does have plenty of sadness but ends on a high note; I'll review that one for Estella's Revenge).

  9. I'm definitely going to look for this one!!!

  10. Amy,

    You may see it sooner than you think. ;)

  11. I love books where you learn so much about another country that it almost feels like you have traveled there! I have read just one book based in Haiti, it was called "Madame Dread
    A Tale of Love, Voodoo and Civil Strife in Haiti" by Kathie Klareich, it was also a memoir. Edwidge Danticut, would be a great author to try if you want to read more on Haiti. I have some of her books here, but haven't delved into any yet.

  12. Lotus,

    It was harrowing, so I'm not anxious to read more about Haiti at the moment. I'll keep Danticat in mind, though. I've seen her books remaindered and passed them up, actually.

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  14. NevadaTeacher4:04 PM

    Thank you for your good words in this blog. I also read an advance copy of Susie's book and also couldn't set it down. Read it straight through in two days--made me laugh, cry, rage, fume, moan, shudder, and consider the purpose of my own life. I thought it was well written. Some of the word pictures are first class. This book transports you to a different world. Susie is an amazing author and an amazing person.

  15. Nevadateacher,

    I couldn't agree more. It's an incredibly moving story.


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