The Girl Who Fell From the Sky

A Novel

Durrow, Heidi W.

(Book - 2011)
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
The Girl Who Fell From the Sky
After a family tragedy orphans her, Rachel, the daughter of a Danish mother and a black G.I., moves into her grandmother's mostly black community in the 1980s, where she must swallow her grief and confront her identity as a biracial woman in a world that wants to see her as either black or white.

Series that include this title

Publisher: Chapel Hill, N.C. : Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2011
ISBN: 1616200154
Branch Call Number: FICTION DURROW 2011
Characteristics: 278 p. ;,21 cm


From Library Staff

2012 Everybody Reads

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 Portland, Oregon, she must suppress her grief and reinvent herself in a mostly black community. The wo... Read More »

Rachel, the daughter of a Danish mother and a black G.I., becomes the sole survivor of a family tragedy. Growing up in the 1980s, she confronts her identity as a biracial young woman in a world that wants to see her as either black or white.

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Dec 20, 2014
  • Chapel_Hill_KenMc rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

This one didn't work for me--surprising, since it won Barbara Kingsolver's Bellwether Prize, which is generally a good recommendation. I found the writing disjointed and flat, and the construction of the plot heavy-handed.

Dec 30, 2013
  • blolo rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

an interesting perspective and a poignant story. It isn't just about being a biracial child, but it is also a coming of age novel, a story about family, a tragedy... and all with a bit of a heartwarming element.

Dec 16, 2012
  • cvonbehren rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I couldn't put it down! An interesting exploration of race and culture with a mystery.

Dec 04, 2012
  • hmcgivney rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

It was interesting to read and think about the aftermath of a tragedy; so often books end with tragedy rather than begin with one. I would have liked to know more. The story is written from Rachel's perspective as a child and teenager, so it doesn't seem like there's a lot of understanding. The story ends just as Rachel seems to be making sense of what happened and who she is - just as she's getting some peace in her life. I guess I want more resolution, to know what happens to her as she becomes an adult with an adult's understanding.

This was a wonderful book! Loved the mystery and intrigue of the story-line. A very innocent, yet racially entangled young girl as the character. It unfolds beautifully and gives the reader something more to take away unlike any old novel.

Jul 19, 2012
  • katbehrend rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

Durrow's novel explored the life of a young, mixed-race, bi-cultural girl who survived an event that took the life of her mom and two siblings. The only survivor, she moved in to her grandmother's house, navigating new cultures and customs, and finding her way in a new place. Reading this book was like walking in the dark and peering into houses whose lights were on, but whose curtains were drawn and only slightly parted. Details emerged slowly and effortfully, and I never felt like I was fully entering the house of the story.

An interesting twist on a familiar theme. Biracial at its best.

Jul 01, 2011
  • JacquelineAugust rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Heidi Durrow's book is amazing! Reading "The Girl Who Fell From The Sky" helped me better understand my own mixed race experience. Everyone should read this book, it is truly great! Not only should you check it out from the library, you should buy a copy of your own. READ READ READ!

Pennie Clark Ianniciello, Costco's book buyer, has chosen The Girl Who Fell from the Sky by Heidi W. Durrow as her pick of the month for March 2011.

From the moment I first saw the title, I knew I had to read Heidi W. Durrow's The Girl Who Fell from the Sky. It begged so many questions: Who is this girl? How did she come to fall from the sky (of all places)? And what's going to happen to her now?

"Durrow had me spellbound from the start. Her debut novel tells the believable story of Rachel, a girl with brown skin and blue eyes. She's forced to make sense of both what's been left behind and what lies ahead.

"Trapped between races--a place not so unlike the no man's land between heaven and earth--Rachel struggles to understand relationships and figure out where she fits in. I see Rachel as a person who doesn't want to be forced into convenient categories. She just wants to be who she is. Like so many of us, she is just looking for a soft place to land."

Dec 16, 2010
  • angsey rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A very good read but I think it was as much about addiction as biracial experiences and how they affected this young girl's childhood. A lovely book. The mystery that unravels is so sad. Her mother must have been filled with despair.


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