The Girl Who Fell from the Sky

By Heidi W. Durrow
(Thorndike Press, Hardcover, Large Print, 9781410427045, 313pp.)

Publication Date: June 2010

Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover, Compact Disc, Paperback

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Selected by Indie Booksellers for the February 2010 Indie Next List
“The child of a black G.I. father and Danish mother, Rachel never felt that she had to choose between her parents until a tragic event leads her to live with her black grandmother. In this new setting, she discovers that she doesn't measure up to others' standards of 'blackness,' but she's not 'white' either. Durrow's deft portrait of Rachel's struggles to figure out who she is and where she belongs are a resonant reminder of the stereotypes that are perpetuated, often despite the best intentions.”
-- Sandy Scott, The Galaxy Bookshop, Hardwick, VT
Selected by Indie Booksellers for the Winter 2011 Reading Group List
“Rachel is a girl with a tragic secret, thrust from her home to live with a distant grandmother she doesn't know. Struggling to overcome her sorrows, she tries to make sense of a new racial identity she didn't know she possessed. In doing so, she strives to find her own sense of self, defined neither by the rigid structures of her grandmother nor those of an increasingly volatile society. An outstanding, original new voice in fiction.”
-- Emily Crowe, Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, MA


In the tradition of Jamaica Kincaid's "Annie John" and Toni Morrison's "The Bluest Eye," this is a moving portrait of a girl confronting society's ideas of race, class and beauty.

Inspired by a real event, this is the story of Rachel, the daughter of a Danish mother and a black G.I. The sole survivor of a family tragedy, Rachel is raised by her strict African-American grandmother in a mostly black community where her light skin, blue eyes, and beauty bring her constant attention. As she grows up in the 1980s and learns to swallow her overwhelming grief, Rachel confronts her identity as a biracial woman in a black and white world.

Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011

The 2000 Census was the first time the U.S. government recognized people with mixed race backgrounds, when 6.8 million people identified with two or more races. In 2010, 9 million Americans identify as such. This summer, Tell Me More will focus on stories and novels about the mixed race experience in America. To launch our Summer Blend Book Club, host Michel Martin speaks with bestselling author Heidi Durrow, who wrote the novel The Girl Who Fell from the Sky. Durrow also co-founded the Mixed Roots Film & Literary Festival that just ended in Los Angeles. More at

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Tuesday, Mar 2, 2010

Heidi Durrow's debut novel, The Girl Who Fell From The Sky, explores biracial identity in young adulthood. The book has received critical acclaim as well as the Bellwether Prize for fiction that addresses issues of social justice. More at

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Conversation Starters from


  1. The Girl Who Fell from the Sky is set in the 1980s. How does its chronological setting affect its plot and themes? Do you think the novel’s events might play out any differently if it were set in contemporary times? 

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