I don't usually like nonfiction all that much, not even narrative nonfiction, not even biography; I can certainly appreciate nonfiction when it's well-done, but for whatever reason, it just very, very rarely rivets me. Well, I was definitely riveted by this book. Amelia Earhart isn't someone I knew much about; a woman, a pilot, disappeared mysteriously during a flight. I had no idea that she was a teacher at Purdue University, that President Franklin Roosevelt spent taxpayer dollars to build an airstrip on a tiny island in the Pacific Island solely to make Amelia's world trip possible. I didn't even know she was married. The most fascinating part of the story, of course, is the question mark at the end of it, but Amelia herself seems to have been something of a puzzle. Who was she, what motivated her, why on Earth did she not take the time to learn to use her radio, even her flight instruments, before that 27,000 mile trip.
I couldn't stop reading. The format--the linear account of Amelia's life from birth to disappearance alternating chapter by chapter with an account of the day she failed to appear at Howland Island--made certain that I was hooked and stayed that way. The writing is clean, concise, and I feel, very objective without being distant from the subject. The photographs and fact boxes are informative, interesting, and relevant to the text. Excellent. Truly.