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The Girl Who Fell from the Sky
The Girl Who Fell from the Sky
Author: Heidi W. Durrow
This debut novel tells the story of Rachel, the daughter of a Danish mother and a black G.I. who becomes the sole survivor of a family tragedy. — With her strict African American grandmother as her new guardian, Rachel moves to a mostly black community, where her light brown skin, blue eyes, and beauty bring mixed attention her way. Growing up in...  more »
ISBN-13: 9781565126800
ISBN-10: 1565126807
Publication Date: 2/16/2010
Pages: 256
Rating:
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 25

3.4 stars, based on 25 ratings
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Book Type: Hardcover
Members Wishing: 0
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review
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Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed The Girl Who Fell from the Sky on + 412 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
This novel is nothing short of phenomenal and really shook me to the core. This is the story of a young girl who survives a shocking, tragic event. She is the daughter of a Danish mother and African-American father. She comes to live with her paternal grandmother and her life changes drastically. The tension in the story--the circumstances surrounding the tragedy--is maintained perfectly until the point of revelation. Issues of race--who we think we are and how we are percieved by others--is dealt with beautifully. There are no easy answers here, but a thoroughly engrossing novel. A must-read!!
reviewed The Girl Who Fell from the Sky on + 636 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
This was a short but rather powerful novel. I really enjoyed it. It was not at all an uplifting book, but despite it being so sad, it was very likable. I really found it hard to put down. It was a very different sort of book, with an interesting style and structure. There was a sort of sense of the book stringing along one terrible event after another, but despite this, it kept me reading. For a debut novel, this is very strong and I would certainly read another book by this talented author.
pinkcypress avatar reviewed The Girl Who Fell from the Sky on + 86 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
The story is not a happy one - it deals with murder, abandonment, loneliness, alcoholism, and of course the bigotry that Rachel must face, while still trying to deal with the loss of her family. But the novel is beautifully written, a nice paradox to the ugliness of the subject.

It's interesting as well to set the story of race in the 80s. The 1960s are such a popular setting, but this works so much better. Twenty years after the Civil Rights movement and we see that much has not changed at all - in fact, as the Grandmother notes, it's gotten worse - with the startling observation that much of the pain is inflicted on the black community by other blacks.

There's the mystery as well - did the mother throw her children from the roof and jump? Or was someone else up there pushing them to their deaths? The truth is shocking, and heartbreaking.

This novel is well-worth the time, and will give readers much to ponder. Highly recommend.
rhodapenmark avatar reviewed The Girl Who Fell from the Sky on
Helpful Score: 2
I feel as though my review will merely echo those already posted, but I feel so similarly about this book! I read it in one day (rather uncommon for me) because I was fascinated and couldn't stop reading. The ending was a disappointment to me, but not in the way that makes you feel "ripped off" as a reader. Just more of a let down I suppose because I was hoping for so many things to be resolved that were not. On the other hand that's how real life is so I shouldn't judge the story based on that. Overall, it was great and I really loved Durrow's writing style. She creates such rich characters you feel as though you've met them almost instantly and can easily picture their faces and expressions and so on...I LOVE that! I'm very much looking forward to reading future books from Durrow.
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sgmensing avatar reviewed The Girl Who Fell from the Sky on + 24 more book reviews
Anything I write about this book ties the book down to earth while what the book does is soar. It's about a girl who lives the first decade of her life defined as only her parents' child, and then enters a world where she struggles with a definition as either black or white. The mystery in the background is about what happened to make that transition, and the story in the foreground is a sort of coming of age story as Rachel attempts to find her place. The book is beautifully written and the tragedies are sort of soft-focus. I cared about the people in this book, which is written in short chapters that alternate between different points of view. The structure of the book drew me in, making me always want to read that one more chapter.
njmom3 avatar reviewed The Girl Who Fell from the Sky on + 1212 more book reviews
Review first published on my blog: http://memoriesfrombooks.blogspot.com/2011/12/girl-who-fell-from-sky.html

The Girl Who Fell From the Sky is a book loosely based in reality. It is the story of Rachel, who survives a horrific incident in which her mother and her siblings perish. She is the sole survivor. The central theme of the book is biracialism and raising biracial children. Rachel is the daughter of an African American soldier and a Danish mother. After her mother's death, she is raised by her strict African American grandmother. The book is about Rachel's struggles with her grief, her identity, prejudice, and her gradual understanding of her mother's struggles.

The style and structure of the book are difficult to maneuver. The story is told from different perspectives. Chapters move between characters and between different points in time. This movement keeps the book from coming together as a cohesive whole. There are only images and glimpses into each character and their perspective on that fateful day.

The story's message, however, is a powerful one. We are not defined by our race. We should be defined by our relationships and our actions. Yet, people still judge based on how someone looks. We, as a community, still need these messages as a reminder to fight prejudice of all kinds. Reminders to not behave in such a manner and reminders of the sometimes catastrophic effects of prejudice.
reviewed The Girl Who Fell from the Sky on + 3 more book reviews
Interesting story, quick read, great summer beach book


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