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!!
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.
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.
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.