Dec 30, 2012

Book Review: The Girl Who Fell from the Sky

Heidi Durrow's novel, "The Girl Who Fell from the Sky", is about a young girl's search for identity. As a girl, Rachel is born and raised in Germany, with a black American G.I. father and a white Danish mother. Her parents struggle with alcoholism, and when her mother moves to Chicago to start a new life with the children, for the first time, Rachel is confronted with racism, still alive and well in early 1980's U.S.A.

A tragic incident, a fall from the top of their Chicago apartment building, leaves Rachel the sole survivor without her mother and siblings. She is taken in at age 11 by her very traditional, black grandmother and transitions into an all-black community. With her bi-racial skin, bright blue eyes and "white people talk", she doesn't blend in easily.

We watch her grow into a young woman who has to come to terms with who she is, what it means to "be black", family secrets and failings, and the truth of what happened on top of the roof. Abandoned by her father, and left without her mother, she feels disconnected with her past and simultaneously blind to her future. She seeks solace in the love of men in her life and the escape she finds through reading, but it's only when she fully embraces the truth of where she comes from can she find direction and identity.

With all of that said, you're going to think I'm cold and calloused when I tell you the book kind of just left me "meh". It didn't make me feel much of anything. I was an observer, and I could tell what I was being expected to feel, but I didn't genuinely feel it. Does that make sense? The writing was good, but it was calculated. I don't regret reading it, but I won't read it again because I didn't have a connection with it. The summary makes it sound compelling, but when you're in the thick of it, it's slow and lacking... something. It felt a little flat.

I feel bad coming across so negative about it, because it really wasn't bad. I found the general premise interesting and some of the scenes and characters well-done. The writing itself is good, she unfolds the story from multiple perspectives throughout the book.

I think I'll just stop rambling now. I didn't love it, but I wouldn't not recommend it... but I also wouldn't include it on a reading list. It's just a reminder to me that reading is a very personal thing, and just because I'm not feeling it, that doesn't mean this book couldn't mean a lot to someone else.

Oh well, onward and forward, excited for the books I will read in 2013! What's on your reading list for this coming year?


4 comments:

  1. I've just finished a couple of books - one of the best things about the holidays is getting a chance to sit and read! I didn't expect to enjoy The Fault In Our Stars but I actually loved it, and I reread The Language Of Flowers which I still love too! Have you read any Ali Smith? She's a brilliant gay Scottish writer and her novel Like is probably my favourite book ever.

    Good to read this review - it's always nice to hear so-so reviews as well as gushing ones!

    Carley x

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    1. Than you so much for the recommendations Carley!!!

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  2. Happy New Year! I just came across your blog and loved reading your love story. My wife and I have been together for nearly 7 years, we have a 10-month-old daughter and our story began in a very similar way. I look forward to following :)

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    1. Yay! Happy to have you. I love meeting fellow bloggers.

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