When Astrid Jones and her family moved from New York City to Unity Valley, PA, none of them quite realized how drastically their lives would change. Astrid’s mom became so concerned with how other people saw her and so controlling that it seemed nothing Astrid did was ever even close to good enough. Her little sister, Ellis, was so concerned with popularity and upholding her reputation that she’d probably have disowned Astrid if it would have guaranteed her immunity from the rumor mill. This apparently pleased her mom, though, since she frequently invited Ellis to “mommy and me” nights out. And their dad? When he wasn’t moping about his lack of job prospects and smoking pot in the garage or attic, he seemed content enough to sit silently while his wife belittled him in front of the kids.
With a family like that, it’s no wonder Astrid decided she was better off “sending her love” to the passengers in the airplanes overhead. Sending her love to the passengers meant that she didn’t have to worry about that love being thrown back in her face. Because she was sending love to anonymous strangers, she had no expectation of getting love back, and that made it OK when it the love wasn’t reciprocated. Confronted by the possibility of love on the ground, nevertheless, Astrid had absolutely no idea how to handle herself. So, she started asking the passengers questions. I liked how Astrid’s questions somehow floated into the minds of the passengers and led to vignettes of the passengers’ own lives and the problems they were facing. I especially liked how such a sad story could end with such hope. After all, sometimes a little hope is all you need to keep on going.