Book Review: Freefall to Fly

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Freefall to Fly is Rebekah Lyons’ memoir about a jarring move from Atlanta to New York City, the panic that induced, and how she escaped the trapped feeling.

I actually discussed this book with a group of other women who had read it, and only after the discussion with them did I come to the conclusion that this book could be for almost anybody, but it is certainly not for everybody. What do I mean by that? I mean, I know a good portion of any given group of people I would recommend this book to would probably like it, but I have no idea how to tell which people they would be.

Lyons’ prose is lyrical and inspirational, and I did enjoy that throughout the book. She made numerous points about anxiety that I could relate to, like the way panic feels, and how isolating it is. Lyons also has a son who has Down Syndrome, and her reflections on his life are beautiful and stirring.

However, on the whole, I can’t say I really enjoyed the book. I fully realize that my objections to it are my problem and not Lyons’; this is an issue of taste, I think. My biggest problem was that, even as I was relating to Lyons though the Christian faith, motherhood and a shared experience of anxiety and panic attacks, I was decidedly not relating to her on almost every other level.

The book is supposed to center around helping women finding their calling. I love that idea. Unfortunately, that’s not what the bulk of the book is. The bulk of it is an extremely introspective account of Lyons’ daily drudgery, and what that was like with anxiety. I don’t think this is a bad thing; but there was altogether too much of this in the writing for my taste.

I also think Lyons is off-base with her points about mental illness. I’m glad she’s speaking out about her experience, but she makes several sweeping statements based on her temporary bout with anxiety. I just don’t think that’s very helpful for some people.

On the whole, I felt like the work was a little bit all over the place, and too unpolished to even be considered “raw.” It felt like a first draft, to be perfectly honest. However, I want to reiterate that I deeply respect Lyons for putting this work out there. I do think that almost everyone can get something out of her inspirational story, even if, like me, some people come away a bit underwhelmed.

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