The Girl Who Fell from the Sky

By Heidi W. Durrow; Karen Murray (Read by); Emily Bauer (Read by)
(Highbridge Company, Compact Disc, 9781598879230, 6pp.)

Publication Date: February 2010

Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover, Hardcover, 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

A timely and moving bicultural coming-of-age tale, based on a true story and told by an author who has struggled with the same issues as her protagonist.
The daughter of a Danish immigrant and a black G.I., Rachel survives a family tragedy only to face new challenges. Sent to live with her strict African-American grandmother in a racially divided Northwest city, she must suppress her grief and reinvent herself in a mostly black community. A beauty with light brown skin and blue eyes, she attracts much attention in her new home. The world wants to see her as either black or white, but that's not how she sees herself.
Meanwhile, a mystery unfolds, revealing the terrible truth about Rachel's last morning on a Chicago rooftop. Interwoven with her voice are those of Jamie, a neighborhood boy who witnessed the events, and Laronne, a friend of Rachel's mother. Inspired by a true story of a mother's twisted love, "The Girl Who Fell from the Sky" reveals an unfathomable past and explores issues of identity at a time when many people are asking "Must race confine us and define us?"
Narrated by an ensemble, with Emily Bauer (Rachel), Kathleen McInerney (Nella), and Karen Murray (Jamie, LaRone, Brick, Roger).




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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