The Girl Who Fell from the Sky by Heidi W. Durrow

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Synopsis

Rachel, the daughter of a Danish mother and a black G.I., becomes the sole survivor of a family tragedy after a fateful morning on their Chicago rooftop.

Forced to move to a new city, with her strict African American grandmother as her guardian, Rachel is thrust for the first time into a mostly black community, where her light brown skin, blue eyes, and beauty bring a constant stream of attention her way. It’s there, as she grows up and tries to swallow her grief, that she comes to understand how the mystery and tragedy of her mother might be connected to her own uncertain identity.

This searing and heartwrenching portrait of a young biracial girl dealing with society’s ideas of race and class is the winner of the Bellwether Prize for best fiction manuscript addressing issues of social justice.

 

About Heidi W. Durrow

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A graduate of Stanford University, Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, and Yale Law School, Heidi W. Durrow has received grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the American Scandinavian Foundation, and the Lois Roth Endowment and a Fellowship for Emerging Writers from the Jerome Foundation. Her writing has been published in Alaska Quarterly Review, the Literary Review, and others.
 
Published January 11, 2011 by Algonquin Books. 300 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, History. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Girl Who Fell from the Sky

Kirkus Reviews

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The grim, penetratingly observed story of a half-black teen and her struggles with racial identity in 1980s America.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of The Girl Who Fell from the Sky

The New York Times

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A mixed-race girl confronts her identity in this autobiographical first novel.

Feb 28 2010 | Read Full Review of The Girl Who Fell from the Sky

BC Books

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The Girl Who Fell from the Sky caught my attention right away because it is about a biracial girl. I...A story about a biracial girl who must learn to cope with society's ideas of race and class.

Apr 24 2012 | Read Full Review of The Girl Who Fell from the Sky

BC Books

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The Girl Who Fell is well worth picking up.

Feb 07 2010 | Read Full Review of The Girl Who Fell from the Sky

BC Books

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Trying to keep the children safe, Rachel's mother flees with Rachel and her two siblings to Chicago, but before a year is out, she and the children have fallen from the roof of her apartment.

Feb 07 2010 | Read Full Review of The Girl Who Fell from the Sky

BC Books

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My daughter Michele who is a senior in college made a profound statement: “I will never be black enough for the blacks and white enough for the whites, but as an American citizen, I am invariably free to be whomever I desire to be 'Me.'” Durrow’s book will help the reader understand that one sho...

Apr 25 2012 | Read Full Review of The Girl Who Fell from the Sky

NPR

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Things fall apart in Louise Erdrich's Shadow Tag. A woman's gift to science yields medical miracles — and outrage — in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. What will America be like with one-third more people? A strangely optimistic answer in The Next Hundred Million. And a teenager traces down ...

Feb 02 2010 | Read Full Review of The Girl Who Fell from the Sky

Examiner

*Fascinating note: Heidi Durrow is the offspring of a Danish mother and an African-American father.

Sep 03 2011 | Read Full Review of The Girl Who Fell from the Sky

Book Reporter

Five perspectives on a single tragedy with life-changing results for those directly and peripherally involved merge to tell the story of Rachel Morse, a young biracial girl who quite literally falls from the sky one day.

Oct 04 2014 | Read Full Review of The Girl Who Fell from the Sky

Teen Ink

Teen Ink has 2 forums for you to choose from:.

Oct 04 2014 | Read Full Review of The Girl Who Fell from the Sky

The Washington Post

Roger "liked white girls, but not American white girls .

Feb 20 2010 | Read Full Review of The Girl Who Fell from the Sky

Christian Science Monitor

From its opening lines – “ ‘You my lucky piece,’ Grandma says....

Feb 19 2010 | Read Full Review of The Girl Who Fell from the Sky

The Bookbag

The opening scene introduces you to Rachel, an elusive young girl, not black, not white but light skinned-ed as she is packed off to live with her grandma after a devastating family event.

Apr 12 2010 | Read Full Review of The Girl Who Fell from the Sky

Huffington Post

Extending Durrow's frank communication into our own lives will help us understand more clearly what it means to be mixed, and to be mixed and happy.

Jul 03 2010 | Read Full Review of The Girl Who Fell from the Sky

Oregon Live

Durrow .

Feb 13 2010 | Read Full Review of The Girl Who Fell from the Sky

Oregon Live

I wish I could have been a fly on the wall for all the book club discussions and the various related events held at Portland State -- there are so many different discussions readers are having around the book.

Mar 03 2012 | Read Full Review of The Girl Who Fell from the Sky

Denver Post

Other parts of the story are told by Laronne, Rachel's mother's employer, and Jamie, a boy near Rachel's age who goes by the name Brick.

Apr 04 2010 | Read Full Review of The Girl Who Fell from the Sky

Literate Housewife

you have successfully made me want to read the book.

Jul 09 2010 | Read Full Review of The Girl Who Fell from the Sky

Lit Lovers

Laronne, Rachel's deceased mother's employer, and Brick, a young boy who witnessed the tragedy and because of his personal misfortunes is drawn into Rachel's world, help piece together the puzzle of Rachel's family.

Oct 04 2014 | Read Full Review of The Girl Who Fell from the Sky

Book Chatter

© 2012 Book Chatter, Biracial Identity, Book Club Reading List, Book Review, Coming of Age, Heidi Durrow, Identity, Literary Fiction, Race Relations, The Girl Who Fell from the Sky.

Apr 05 2012 | Read Full Review of The Girl Who Fell from the Sky

From Left to Write

The Girl Who Fell From the Sky is the first book by an author of color that I’ve read this […].

Jan 13 2014 | Read Full Review of The Girl Who Fell from the Sky

ForeWord Reviews

Winner of the 2008 Bellwether Prize for Fiction, a literary prize that advocates social justice, Durrow also interjects the remembrances of those touched by the heartbreaking incident: Rachel’s father, Nella’s boss, and Brick, a former birdwatcher who saw the family plummet and is forced to reinv...

Dec 16 2009 | Read Full Review of The Girl Who Fell from the Sky

Entertainment Realm

Title: The Girl Who Fell From the Sky.

Mar 17 2010 | Read Full Review of The Girl Who Fell from the Sky

Reviews of Books

Christian Science Monitor review by Heller McAlpin.

Oct 04 2014 | Read Full Review of The Girl Who Fell from the Sky

The Bookbag

Immediately, Durrow highlights race and identity as the primary themes, and we follow blue-eyed Rachel as she struggles between two worlds – the white world of her Danish mother, and the other black world of her African-American G.I.

Apr 12 2010 | Read Full Review of The Girl Who Fell from the Sky

Tottenville Review

A new review of books focused on debuts, translations, and all works that would otherwise go undetected.

Dec 21 2012 | Read Full Review of The Girl Who Fell from the Sky

BookRoom Reviews

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Apr 01 2011 | Read Full Review of The Girl Who Fell from the Sky

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Reader Rating for The Girl Who Fell from the Sky
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