FLIGHT INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE COMMITMENT IMPAIRED (2016)
"Interesting, provocative and self-assured, her Flight Instructions takes pain, mistakes, pluck, misguidedness and backbone, and transforms them into compelling art." Brett Josef Grubisic, Vancouver Sun, March 5, 2016
"Nicola Harwood’s memoir is written in the kind of sharp, insightful language that’s usually reserved for good fiction. I realized this seven pages in, when I found that all nine significant people so far introduced had a distinct identity – roundness, personality, feel. This skillful prose lasts from cover to cover and does justice to the book’s gripping content." Norman Felicks, Broken Pencil, May 7, 2016
"The writing is simply outstanding, a book without a dull sentence, not a single histrionic or purple prose dud in the entire memoir... If life were fair, and we all know it's not, this book would win about seventeen North American awards." Caroline Woodward, Good Reads, June 13, 2016
In the late nineties, Nicola Harwood and her girlfriend moved to San Francisco in order to be at the epi-centre of queer culture. Shortly after arriving, they encountered an ad posted in the SF Bay Times looking for lesbian foster parents. Impulsively, they decided to answer the ad and offer to foster Antwan, an eleven year old transgender child who had been living in group homes since the age of six. Suffering from post traumatic stress, numerous disabilities and behaviours, Antwan turns out to be not only a severely challenging child, but also an irrepressibly honest and funny one. Outrageous, sad and very funny, Flight Instructions for the Commitment Impaired, follows the couple as they attempt to build a relationship with Antwan and their world. As the three start to connect across an abyss of trauma and abuse, a relationship develops that challenges each of their notions of race, family and commitment.