Book Reviews

A. S. King- Ask the Passengers


Astrid Jones is good at keeping secrets. Some of those secrets include: Astrid’s best friend Kristina is gay. Kristina’s “boyfriend” Justin is gay. Her father smokes pot. She lies on a picnic table in her backyard and sends love to airline passengers. She has faux conversations with Socrates. But she holds the biggest secret from herself…

“Every airplane, no matter how far it is up there, I send love to it. I picture the people in their seats with their plastic cups of soda or orange juice or Scotch, and I love them.” – Astrid

I love the idea of sending love to airline passengers and the possibility that they’re sending love right back. I have a feeling that I’ll send love the next time I spot an airplane.

Astrid also sends silent- snarky-love to people who say silly things. When her parents are pressuring her to give them a “yes or no” answer, she thinks, “I can give you a leave me the hell alone why does it matter so damn much and it’s none of your goddamn business. Love you.”

Astrid’s snarky-love reminds me of the “Thankful Lists” my friend Chera and I write. We’ve been friends for like thirteen years, and pen pals for most of them. Most of our letters include a “Thankful List” but it’s one-hundred-percent snarky. For example: I’m thankful that my seat belt buckle sensor cost $250 which I had to pay for so my car would pass inspection. I’m thankful for my in-laws. (My step dad calls in-laws out-laws) I’m thankful for Monday morning because I missed work so much that I was tempted to break in on Saturday….

Astrid’s silent- snarky- love to her mother: “Claire, I am not sending any love to you because you are a horrible person right now. Who made you eat bitch for lunch? Who poured you a tall bitch beer float? Who sprinkled bacon bitch on your salad?”

It’s impossible to not like Astrid. She reminds me so much of me when I was a teenager and still am as an adult – sending-silent-snarky love…

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