Title : The Girl Who Fell From the Sky
Author : Heidi W. Durrow
Genre : YA Historical fiction, Cultural fiction
Goodreads summary :
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 the 1980s, she learns to swallow her overwhelming grief and confronts her identity as a biracial young woman in a world that wants to see her as either black or white. In the tradition of Jamaica Kincaid’s Annie John and Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, here is a portrait of a young girl – and society’s ideas of race, class, and beauty.
(This is going to be shorter than most of my reviews because I don’t want to say much about this book, but I want to say at least something because I think the book deserves that; it deserves all the praise and appreciation it receives/d.)
Story : The story of the book is beautiful. It’s sad and heartbreaking, but ends in an uplifting manner, which was very much necessary. Rachel is a protagonist I rooted for, and even though she isn’t the most likeable character, seeing things her way and relating to her is easy. The ‘family tragedy’ which is talked about in the blurb of the book is revealed in a fantastic manner, and even though the presence of the ‘tragedy’ always broods over the rest of the story, never does it overpower or overshadow the present narrative.
The diversity : If you’re looking for a diverse book, you need to pick this up. Rachel is a biracial main character, and the story explored the life of an African American in that time period extremely well. Issues of color, standards of beauty and the challenges of not ‘fitting in’ are handled well, and you need to give this book a shot for that!
Characterization : The characters are interesting and relatable, but I wish they had a little more depth and substance. Some of them were a tad bit cardboad-y and needed to be a bit more fleshed-out. There are quite a lot of characters involved and all of them are important to the story in their own way, however a lot of the characters needed to be better defined.
Writing, Pace and Narration : The writing is the book’s biggest letdown; I expected such an emotional story to be backed by some strong writing but it was a bit flat, and and din’t have that big of an impact. I don’t think there’s a single sentence in the book I reread because of its beauty. The pacing is excellent; it’s a very short novel and doesn’t linger or go into unnecessary details or explanations. It’s a fast, quick novel and the beautiful story makes it even better. The narration was amazing, the book is narrated from several perspectives, and each perspective adds something new and essential to the story. Also, the way the secrets of the family and the ‘tragedy’ is revealed is just spot on.
I highly recommend you to pick this up! It does have its flaws but it’s still a worthwhile read.