The Girl Who Fell from the Sky

By Heidi W. Durrow
(Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, Hardcover, 9781565126800, 264pp.)

Publication Date: February 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


Description

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."




NPR
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 NPR.org

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NPR
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 NPR.org

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Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com

CONVERSATION STARTERS

  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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