Monday, January 2, 2012
Review: The Girl who Fell from the Sky by Heidi W Durrow
Source: Personal Copy
Rachel is the girl who fell from the sky and survived. When tragedy strikes her family, Rachel is the only survivor- her mother, brother and sister pass away and Rachel’s life forever changes. Her father is in the military and constantly traveling, and unable to care for Rachel. After spending weeks in the hospital, unconscious, Rachel wakes up and is forced to live with her grandmother. The story of Rachel’s shattered life begins, a ten year old girl lost in a world where she doesn’t know where she belongs. Born to a Danish mother and Black father, her blue eyes and light brown skin leaves her feeling like an outsider. Rachel feels alienated, unable to fit into one category and shunned by both. While living in Europe, being bi-racial wasn’t anything that she was made to focus on, however Portland is a different world. Rachel leans on her grandmother and Aunt Loretta; these two women help her through her sorrow and pain. This novel deals with grief, despair, hope and perseverance. Rachel is a little girl trying to face a scary world and she can only bottle up her emotions for so long.
The Girl Who Fell from the Sky is told in narratives by several different characters. The mysterious accident leaves readers wondering what happened. Were Nella and the children pushed, or did Nella convince them to leap off the rooftop? If she did convince her children to plummet to their death, what would motivate her to do something like this. Brick, a young boy, left alone the majority of the day witnesses the accident and is forever changed. Laronne, the supervisor of the community college library finds Nella’s diaries, and introduces readers to her thoughts. Brick and Rachel's father Roger meet in the hospital and bond over Rachel. The novel is complicated by many narratives and at times felt disjointed. The pacing is very slow and told in semi-chronological order.
I really wanted to love this book, and had high expectation but it fell a little flat for me. Apart from the disjointed narrative and the slow pacing, I never felt that the characters developed very much. I felt like I was always questioning what was going on within the story. The characters continually felt distant. The story had a lot of potential but I couldn’t keep myself interested in the story. I don’t think this book is for everyone, and you shouldn’t expect too much from all the rave reviews. The subject matter was very interesting but overall it was a difficult read for me. I love books that deal with identity issues, but this one was not for me.