Monday, December 15, 2014

Book Tour Review: Winged by April Kelly

Welcome to my tour stop for this wonderful Fiction book. 

 Here you will find my review on 
Winged by April Kelly 
as well as a synopsis and excerpt on it.
I hope you enjoy!


What if the cavalier decision you made about your child the day she was born had the power to reverberate for more than thirty years, dividing the nation, costing three people their lives, and destroying your family?

Homeless teen Allison Fitzgerald believes the two tiny membranes on her baby’s back are not, as the doctors claim, a surgically correctable birth defect, but a pair of wings. And after having a vision of her child flying, she names her Angel.

The “wings” will never flap, fly or lift the child off the ground, but they will engender in Angel a dangerous obsession with flying, an obsession that will one day drive her to attempt the impossible.

A darkly comic contemporary reframing of the Icarus and Daedalus myth, WINGED ex-plores the lengths to which a mother will go to protect her child, and ultimately offers a message of salvation, not just for the family involved, but for all mankind.

My Thoughts:
What would you do if your child was born with "wings"? I was intrigued when I first read the synopsis of this book for it had me wondering if this was a book on angels or if it was a more realistic story. Further, I was curious to learn how this girl's wings caused people their lives and divided a nation. I was eager to start reading this book.

I was immediately captivated with the story told by Allison, the mother of Angel. Allison was  unfortunately raped at a young age and was kicked out of her house when her parents learned that she was pregnant. Though she was young, Allison showed determination to keep moving forward especially after her daughter was born. It was fascinating to read how this mother did everything possible to make sure that her daughter had a good life as well as make sure that she herself received further education. It was heart-warming and sometimes comical to read how mother and daughter reacted towards the wings and wondered whether or not Angel would be able to fly. 

As heart-warming as the story was, I could not help being boggled on how unrealistic everything seemed. The tone of the story was too positive. The fact that Allison was gang raped and showed little side affects about it had me scratching my head. Perhaps April Kelly did not want to focus too much on such a horrific incident, but I still found it odd that Allison was a pretty stable character. Another thing that I found the tone being too positive strange was the lack of people's reaction to Angel's wings. It was not mentioned whether or not Angel was teased or bullied at school for having wings. Kids are cruel no matter what, so this omission was unreal to me. However, the positiveness of this book did not turn me away from reading it. In fact, I found myself glued to the story. 

Yes, I was enthralled by the quirkiness of the story and the two main characters. I could not help but love them. I found it funny how almost every chapter ended with a cliff-hanger and how spunky Angel was when she became older and knew how to use her wings to her advantage. The whole time reading this book, it had me wondering and hoping whether or not Angel would fly.

All in all, this was an interesting and unique read. Though its positive tone might have made it seem unbelievable, this was more of a realistic fiction read versus a sci-fi/fantasy one. It was engrossing and heartfelt.  This was a wonderful read and I hope to read some more from this author. I rate it:


Smile patronizingly at my naming her Angel, but remember I was only eighteen and my child was born with wings. Well, the doctor didn’t call them wings. He called them a congenital anomaly and recommended they be surgically removed before we left the hospital.

I had never heard the word anomaly before, and I only recognized three syllables of congenital, the three that had gotten me in trouble nine months earlier when two other twelfth-grade girls and I had crashed a fraternity party where I downed about a dozen drinks that must have been ninety-nine percent wine and only one percent cooler. The drugs they gave me during the birth—more to shut me up than to ease any pain, I suspect—impaired my ability to detect reactions from either doctor or nurses that would have indicated I had just expelled a freak. The words penetrating my mushy consciousness gave no hint there was a problem: girl, umbilical, Apgar, turkey sub. One of the nurses may have been placing her lunch order.

Three hours later I was stitched up, cleaned up and sitting up when a nurse brought me a pink wrappy thing with a tiny head sticking out one end. Immediately upon off-loading the bundle to me, she gave a tight smile and left. I had just enough time to register the features of the squinched little face before the doctor approached my bed, his own face fixed in a squinch. It looked better on the baby.

Once he had pulled the curtain around my ward bed—broke teenagers who can’t even come up with a baby-

daddy name for the birth certificate don’t rate the premium accommodations—the doc began a rambling tale about how some newborns enter the world with webbing between their fingers or toes, and that it was customary to do the surgical fixes before they left the hospital.

“So what are you saying? She has duck feet?”

“No, no, no.” He seemed panicked by my question. “Her fingers and toes are fine. It’s just that she has two very small membranous flaps on her back that we’d like to remove.”

“I want to see them.”

“I have to discourage that, Miss Fitzgerald. These congenital anomalies are routine for medical personnel, but for a new mother, especially one as young as...”

He might have said more, but I was already freeing my child from the pastel cotton burrito into which she had been stuffed. Once unswaddled, her little arms and legs did a bit of slow-motion waving, and her mouth opened in a gummy yawn, while the doctor held out a clipboard and asked me to sign the consent form.

I gently turned her over to place her on her stomach on my stomach and saw them for the first time: wings.

It wasn’t much of an argument. I had only turned eighteen two months earlier, but I knew I was an adult in the eyes—if not the common sense—of the law, and that I had the right to say no to the mutilation of my child. Frustrated, the doctor left and I was finally alone with her.

Still facedown and sleeping on me, her tiny form rode the rise and fall of my belly as I breathed. One arm curved alongside her head, fist extended, and the rhythmic movement combined with the facedown, arm-out position made me think of Superman flying.

I wish I could say I had some warm and maternal feel-ing for that little stranger, but I didn’t. There was a vague sense of obligation to handle her carefully, but no more than when I had held a puppy or a kitten as a child. No, the only feeling I had was a curiosity about her, an interest in this creature created solely by me. Well, by me and some unknown Sigma Tau Gamma.

The doc had been accurate in calling them membra-nous flaps. Though they matched the cream and pink of her back, they looked more reptilian than human: two tiny trian-gles of skin which emerged from either side of the small knobs of her upper spine, then curved and hugged her shoulder blades. I gently stroked one with the tip of my index finger, Brailling the info to my brain. Not as soft as I thought they would be, and with the slightest of ridges along the sides, like piping under the skin. When I slipped my fingernail under one edge and lifted the flap, there was a small amount of tensile strength in it, enough to snug it back in place when I took my finger away.

I gently turned her over, triggering that slo-mo dog paddle of her arms and legs again. Cradling her against me, I took in the brownish fuzz that capped her head, one piece in front almost long enough for my licked fingertip to paste into a curl. I examined the minuscule diaper, deciding it looked like the one worn by the wetting doll I got for Christmas when I was five. I leaned over to check out the itty-bitty eyelashes, so we were almost nose to nose when she opened her eyes. We both flinched, and I pulled back far enough to focus. The cli-ché caught me off guard, that intense rush of love that bonded me to her instantly. That alone would have been a powerful enough experience, albeit shared with virtually every other new mother since the beginning of time. But that was only the first jab of the one-two punch that changed my life forever; the tap that laid me out was looking into her eyes and seeing my own face—twice, tiny—reflected back. Not the face I had then, but my future face, the one that bends over a yellow pad tonight as I sit on this bunk and scribble out my life. Was that future me trying desperately to communicate answers to questions teen me had not yet begun to ask? Before I averted my eyes to break that frightening connection, three powerful thoughts surged into me: one, that this child would save me; two, that I would be willing to give up my own life for her; and three, that I would one day see her fly. All three have come true, but not in any way I could have imagined.

A tall, silver-haired priest was the next person to try to persuade me to have my daughter’s wings removed. As I was in a Catholic hospital, I was not surprised to see a priest, but from the embarrassed look on Father Paul’s face, he was surprised to see a female breast. Hey, what could I do? It was snack time for the kidlet, and an open ward doesn’t offer a heck of a lot of privacy.

Father Paul was almost too easy a target. When he speculated that my daughter would be teased by her school chums—he actually used that word, chums—when they learned of her secret deformity, I countered by claiming to be reluctant to interfere with God’s plan.

“If He created her this way, how can mere mortals presume to improve on His plan? And she doesn’t have a deformity; she has a pair of wings.”

“Allison, you can’t actually believe they’re wings. That defies logic.”

“Oh, right. But a pregnant virgin and a dead guy wak-ing up after three days make perfect sense. Sorry, padre, but I’m sticking with the wings theory.”

I’m not sure if it was my blasphemy or the sight of my swollen, blue-veined boob as the baby finished brunch and lolled away from it, but the good father stood quickly, scraping his chair back. I’m sure part of him wanted to stay and fight for the soul of a child born to so obviously a lost-cause mother, but I also sensed the larger part of him would be relieved to get back to the terminal patients who welcomed his comforting words. I decided to absolve him of my sins.

“I’m naming her Angel.”

Camel’s back, meet the straw. Father Paul didn’t have much of a poker face and, looking appalled, he choked out a tight blessing, then exited ward left.

I had only said it to be a bitch, but when micro girl burped in her sleep and I looked down at the milk bubble in-flating and deflating in the corner of her mouth, I figured An-gel was as good a name as any. You don’t have to believe in God to believe in angels.

I had three days in the hospital getting to know her, learning how to take care of her basic needs, and wondering where we could go when St. Luke’s threw us out. Brian’s mom and dad had been amazing, letting me stay at their house when I started looking like I was hiding a basketball under my shirt and my own parents ejected me from their vinyl-sided Eden (with detached garage), but Brian was taking early college entrance and I could hardly ask Mr. and Mrs. Haywood to let me stay on with the bambina. Nice as they were, I knew half the reason they invited me in the first place was their fervent, long shot hope that Bri was the father. They clung to the belief that being gay was a phase he would snap out of and that Greg was just his study buddy.

Brian came to the hospital the day after Angel was born, carrying a bouquet of daisies for me and a really inap-propriate teddy bear in a black leather onesie for her. That was the day he told me he was leaving for Berkeley the following week. We had been good friends since the tenth grade, and his departure would bring me down to zero in the best-buds department, as Heather and Chelsea—my two partners in the great frat party debacle—had been forbidden to have any contact with me since our drunk and disorderly escapade. Most of the rest of my semifriends had pulled back when my pregnancy became obvious, with the few holdouts falling away after the principal told me I could no longer be a Gettysburg Cougar. (Go, silver and blue!) I think it was less that the other kids were judgmental and more that we didn’t see each other every day at school anymore. Face it, the foundation for ninety-five percent of all high school friendships is proximity.

I bonded with Angel, ate instant oatmeal and green Jell-O, and resisted two more attempts by the doctor to change my mind about removing the wings. On the fourth morning we were released. As I stood on the steps of St. Luke’s, I didn’t have a home, a job, a clue, a high school diploma, a family or friends.

But I had my baby and, thanks to me, she still had her wings.

Jesus, I wish I had listened to that doctor.

About the Author:

I was born on Long Island to military parents who would have much preferred a new dining room set. After a peripatetic childhood I did hard time at the University of South Florida before moving to Los Angeles to be either a stand-up comic or a writer.

Since writing paid actual money while doing stand-up did not, I signed onto the original writing staff of MORK AND MINDY, leaving two seasons later after having written 15 of the initial 52 episodes, one of which was a finalist for the Humanitas Prize.

I then relocated to New York to write and produce the premier season of LOVE, SIDNEY, starring Tony Randall and Swoosie Kurtz, the first prime-time comedy featuring an openly gay lead character (many years before WILL AND GRACE) and the show for which I received my second Emmy nomination.

Back to the west coast, I wrote and produced series such as 9 to 5 (the TV version of the feature film), TEACHERS ONLY, starring Lynn Redgrave, and WEBSTER, before co-creating the first half-hour comedy specifically made for cable, SANCHEZ OF BEL AIR.

From 1987 to 1991 I stopped doing TV staff work so I could take a four-year course at the oldest homeopathic medical school in England. During that time I worked strictly freelance, supporting myself by writing made-for-television movies and mini-series.

After graduating from The College of Homeopathy in London, I returned to television, co-creating the series BOY MEETS WORLD which ran on ABC from 1993 to 2000. The remake, GIRL MEETS WORLD, is running on the Disney Channel right now.

In 2000 I moved to a farm in Tennessee, where I now write less soul-sucking material than TV scripts. I have two dogs who stay with me more from Stockholm syndrome than any genuine feeling of affection.

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