I’ve written about Anne Lindbergh recently — shortly after I read The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin. In her semi-fictional account of Lindbergh’s life, Benjamin depicts Lindbergh as a mother who felt as if she’d missed out on parts of life as she first lived in the shadow of her famous husband, Charles Lindbergh, and then became a mother of five.
In The Aviator’s Wife, Benjamin devotes a decent amount of time to the path Lindbergh took in publishing her great novel, titled Gift from the Sea. Writing from Lindbergh’s perspective, Benjamin writes on page 339 of The Aviator’s Wife:
Yet motherhood had brought me down to earth with a thud, and kept me there with tentacles made of diapers and tears and lullabies and phone calls and car pools and the stick residue of hair spray and Barbasol all over the bathroom counter. Would I ever be able to soar again? Would I ever have the courage?
Did any woman?
And on page 340:
I was Mom. I was Wife. I was Tragedy. I was Pilot. They were all me, and I, them. That was a fate we could not escape, we women; we would always be called upon by others in a way men simply never were. But weren’t we always, first and foremost—woman? Wasn’t there strength in that, victory, clarity—in all stages of a woman’s life?
It was through this lens put forth by Benjamin, and with this understanding of Lindbergh’s mindset and life, that I today picked up Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. On Amazon, the book is described as “graceful, lucid, and lyrical.” The book is said to share Lindbergh’s thoughts on age, marriage, the changing world of the 1940s and 1950s, and a woman’s place in the world. (After reading The Aviator’s Wife, I’m guessing that Lindbergh’s thoughts on a woman’s place are not exactly what one would expect.)
The book averages 4.5 stars on Amazon and has hundreds of five-star reviews. One reviewer even calls Gift from the Sea a timeless book “every woman must read.” I’m really looking forward to cracking the cover on this one, and I hope my recent reading of The Aviator’s Wife will provide me with greater insight as I make my way through Gift from the Sea. I really enjoyed watching Lindbergh grow in Benjamin’s story, and I’m excited to now learn more about Lindbergh from her own work.