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Flying High with 'Behind Her Smile': A Book Review of a Flight Attendant's Memoirs

Today, I'm pleased to be flying high with Behind Her Smile: The Adventures of a Tall Girl from WVA and Her Life as a Stewardess by Beverly Golden Cuevas virtual book tour sponsored by iRead Book Tours. Please find my review below and be sure to enter the giveaway!


Behind Her Smile book

 

My Book Review


"Behind Her Smile" by Beverly Golden Cuevas unfolds a captivating tale of life and adventures in the aviation industry. The memoir provides a unique peek into the challenges faced by those flying high and navigating the skies.


Lackluster Beginning


While "Behind Her Smile" promises an intriguing narrative, the initial chapters fall short of expectations. The opening is sluggish and fails to captivate, suggesting that Cuevas could have benefited from a stronger introduction to engage readers from the start.


In my opinion, the slow pace persists for the first nine chapters. Cuevas delves into unnecessary details about her life, which, while important to her, may not resonate with the reader. While such details may be fascinating for a famous personality, the average reader may find it less interesting to someone they've never heard of or know. The reader is ready to read about adventure, the people she met, and so on.


The Story Should Have Started with Stewardess Career


"Behind Her Smile" truly takes off when Cuevas begins recounting her experiences as a stewardess. These sections are brimming with exciting anecdotes, humorous encounters, and personal reflections.


Meeting Elvis Presley: A Memorable Experience


One highlight of the memoir is Cuevas' encounter with the legendary Elvis Presley. This memorable experience provides a fascinating insight into the glamour and excitement inherent in the stewardess profession, showcasing unique opportunities and encounters.


The Affair with Wendell Larry Ladner


The memoir delves into Cuevas' personal life, including her affair with Wendell Larry Ladner, a popular basketball player. This portrayal adds depth and complexity to the story, exploring the challenges of maintaining relationships within the demanding and transient nature of the job. Her relationship with Wendell is a rollercoaster of brief getaways and catching him cheating on her. She eventually loses him on June 25, 1975, in a plane crash just short of the JFK runway.


Advocacy for the Crash Survivors and Families


Cuevas dedicates the last few chapters of "Behind Her Smile" to advocating for the rights and support of crash survivors and their families from the June 25th flight. By sharing their experiences and highlighting the often overlooked struggles faced by those affected by aviation accidents, she sheds light on an important issue within the industry.


Marginalization of Men as Flight Attendants and Women in the Flight Industry


"Behind Her Smile" also raises awareness about the treatment and discrimination faced by women in the aviation industry. When she began, women were not allowed to be married or have children as stewardesses but over time those recommendations soon changed. Another thought-provoking aspect is how men who worked as flight attendants were considered gay, some were but not all as she explained. Cuevas provides personal insights into the challenges and discrimination they encountered. While these topics, I thought, would make her story more interesting, I wasn't happy that Cuevas breezes through these sections as though she's a bystander and doesn't have a firm opinion either way.


A Glimpse into a Challenging Past


Overall, "Behind Her Smile: The Adventures of a Tall Girl from WVA and Her Life as a Stewardess" offers a fascinating glimpse into the life of a stewardess. Despite a lackluster beginning and excessive focus on Cuevas' childhood, the memoir ultimately delivers an engaging narrative filled with captivating anecdotes and important insights into the industry's challenges. This memoir serves as an eye-opener, shedding light on the experiences of flight attendants and how much the industry has changed over the years.




 


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