Cruising Attitude: New York Times book review

Yesterday was an amazing day for me.  I still can’t believe Joe Sharkey from the New York Times reviewed my book, Cruising Attitude.   Let me say that again because it’s not everyday someone like me can throw around words like “my book” in the same sentence as  “THE NEW YORK TIMES!” And yet there it is on page B8, and it practically took up half the page.  It was a fantastic review.  Much better than The Wall Street Journal.

I’m a new author, so I’m learning the ins and outs of the book business as I go along.  What’s funny (or sad, depending on how you look at it) is in the publishing world this review is a pretty big deal.  Not just because it’s the New York Times, although that alone is HUGE, but because the review came out two months after the book was released.  Apparently in book world two months is equivalent to two years – dog years that is.  Of course I ran out and bought not one, not two, but five copies of the paper just in case something happened to the other four.

Here’s an excerpt of the review…

If you’ve ever wondered what may be going through a flight attendant’s mind as she surveys passengers all strapped into their restraints before a flight departs, Heather Poole has the answer:

“O.K., where’s crazy? That’s what I’m wondering every time I board a flight in my flammable navy blue polyester.”

That happens to be the opening of Ms. Poole’s new book, “Cruising Attitude: Tales of Crashpads, Crew Drama, and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet” (William Morrow). Ms. Poole has been a flight attendant for 15 years for a major airline that she won’t name because, for a reason unfathomable to me, she loves her job and would hate to lose it. (Under airline rules, crews are allowed to talk to the media, but not to identify their company.)

Now, as a long-serving ombudsman for frequent fliers, I will quickly note that passengers sometimes have their issues with some flight attendants. The first question some of us ask once we’ve buckled ourselves in is this: “O.K., where’s the passive-aggressive martinet of a flight attendant who hates the passengers?”

Both questions are harsh, but I’ll admit that Ms. Poole’s has the weight of the evidence. Take that passenger who barged into the galley where she was squatting by a beverage cart to eat a sandwich she had brought from home. The passenger “took a bite of my half-eaten sandwich” and ran back to his seat, Ms. Poole writes. She adds, “I’ve seen a woman try to store her baby inside an overhead bin.”

After reading that, I called Ms. Poole at her home in Los Angeles to ask: “Really? The overhead bin?”

Ms. Poole, 41, said it was. “Well, maybe she was just putting it there while she sorted her things out, but that wasn’t my impression,” she said.

Ms. Poole is funny, amiable and self-deprecating. She seems well-grounded, so to speak. But her tone when I asked skeptically about the baby in the bin definitely conveyed the idea, “You have met the general public, haven’t you?”


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