Bows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
I’ve looked at clouds that way.
–Joni Mitchell, Both Sides Now
Clouds look different from an airplane window. As the traveler climbs into the sky en route to a new place, the clouds look a lot like stepping stones on the path to a new era in life. Such is the route for Eleanor, who renames herself Aiyana as she climbs the clouds to begin her young adult life in Washington, D.C.
In Climbing Urban Sky by Denise Taranov, readers see the world through Eleanor’s eyes as she pursues adult life after college. The everyday happenings in her twenty-something experience seem exactly right; dramatic,entertaining, yet perfectly appropriate in real life.
Finding a job almost seemed too easy for Eleanor, but then I realized her willingness to accept an internship for next to no salary was the key to getting her foot in the door in her field. She entered the world of adult life sharing a house with three other women, walking and using public transportation, and otherwise starting out independence with a practical and frugal attitude. Don’t think she’s a total homebody, though – she’s a normal young woman who enjoys exploring all that the big city of D.C. has to offer, including restaurants of every ethnicity and new friends from all over the U.S. and outside of its borders.
I didn’t see my young self in Eleanor as much as I saw my daughter, now 26 and seeking her own niche in the world. The big city adventures rang true as I compared them to La Petite’s adventures living and working in Milwaukee. Beyond finding housing and work, the young Eleanor had to learn her way around the city, find go-to locations like grocery stores, and get to know the city culture and social expectations. All of these happenings are typical, and yet the author takes us along on a ride that feels more charming and fun than average.
Climbing Urban Sky is a quick and enjoyable read. The ups, the downs, the parties, the friendships forged and broken along the way, create a story that pulled me into its pages. I couldn’t put it down.
Petunia? Leah? La Petite? Who’s next? It’s an autographed copy and a wonderful story!