Saturday, January 7, 2017

Odyssey and Little Stinker

I've been reading Odyssey, by Susan Oliver, and Little Stinker, by Betty Skelton.

Both of these books are long out of print, and while they can be bought from Amazon or eBay, the sellers are asking exorbitant prices. For Little Stinker, $500 - albeit this particular copy has been autographed by Betty Skelton.

If I was wealthy, it'd be worth buying these books so I could have them on my shelves and refer to them whenever I wanted, but I'm not!

So the easiest thing to do is borrow them from the library using interlibrary loan, which is what I've done.

What an interlibrary loan looks like! Odyssey by Susan Oliver and Little Stinker by Betty Skelton
I really enjoyed Odyssey by Susan Oliver, although I've mentioned in previous blog posts that I wish she'd gone into more detail in everything - she mentions various acting roles in a mere sentence and doesn't go into any details, and her preparations for her Russian flight are fascinating - and a little sad. She mentions that American pilot Jacqueline Cochran snubbed her, as did British pilot Sheila Scott.

I don't know anything about Scott's personality, but Jackie Cochran did have that 'queen bee' attitude - as her one-upmanship with Nancy Harkness Love during the time of the WASP demonstrates. Typical human behavior - but one does wish ones heroes (male or female) were above such pettiness.

Betty Skelton's book Little Stinker is a major disappointment. Oh, it's good for what it is, a 97-page memoir written by "Little Stinker" himself. Skelton - or her ghost writer - tells the story from the standpoint of Little Stinker!

So although we do get glimpses into Betty Skelton's flying skills, her way of doing things, her  feeling of joy in the air, and a few biographical details of her scattered throughout the book, we don't learn anything of substance about her!

She was only 4 foot 9 and weighed 95 pounds. She was a WASP, an acrobatic pilot in Little Stinker for a couple of years. Then she sold the plane and went on to other speed pursuits - driving fast cars, etc, before buying Little Stinker back and donating him to the Smithsonian Institution.

Such an opportunity lost!

Skelton published the book herself, I'm assuming.. it was published by CROSS Press, a subsidiary of Stinker, Inc.

I'm assuming that the Cross of Cross Press is the Christian cross. Skelton does seem to be religious throughout the book, and mentions the Airman's Cross several times - a cloud formation or something that looks like a cross.

Even though the books aren't available to buy, since they are accessible by library I will be reviewing them - eventually!

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