Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.


The Girl Who Fell From the Sky (2010)

by Heidi W. Durrow

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,8461118,743 (3.77)105
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.
  1. 21
    White Teeth by Zadie Smith (sduff222)
  2. 00
    Fox Girl by Nora Okja Keller (sduff222)
  3. 00
    Breathe My Name by R. A. Nelson (meggyweg)
  4. 00
    The Other Hand by Chris Cleave (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  5. 01
    My Name Is Leon by Kit de Waal (JooniperD)
    JooniperD: Both novels feature coming-of-age stories of biracial children uprooted from their families. Both main characters are trying to understand where they belong, and both children are working through trauma.

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 105 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 110 (next | show all)
Sad, overwrought story of girl who lives through tragic childhood, and the people who care about her. She’s half African-American and half Danish. Read for book club, but I think it’s basically a YA book. Liked some stuff about it, but it was kind of heavy-handed.

Listened to the audiobook version. ( )
  steve02476 | Jan 3, 2023 |
4.5 stars. I thought this book was really good and I recommend it.
( )
  dmurfgal | Dec 9, 2022 |
I picked up The Girl Who Fell from the Sky by Heidi Durrow as an impulse buy. The ebook was $1.99 on Amazon, it had some good reviews underneath it, and I figured it was a worth a shot. I am so glad I took the gamble as this is such a great book that I immediately started recommending to my friends after finishing it.

The story is about Rachel primarily, but it is also about Jamie who becomes Brick by the end.

Rachel is half Danish and half black and must live with her grandmother in Portland, OR after an event that happens in Rachel's life when she was living in Chicago. The event is the main mystery of the book, so I will not spoil what happened. All we know is Rachel now lives with her black grandmother in a black neighborhood, her father has gone back on assignment, and her mother and brothers are gone.

A large portion of the book is not only about Rachel's past, but about how Rachel now must fit in a primarily black community as she is light skinned and bright eyed. We follow Rachel throughout her life from early childhood into adulthood as she struggles with not quite fitting into either of the two communities- the white community, where she is too dark, and the black community, where she is too white. Men find her attractive, as she has developed early, and exotic, which doesn't help with the women within each community.

As stated, it is also the story of Jamie aka Brick, who is the sole witness to the event that happened in Rachel's life. His mother is a drug using prostitute of sorts and is absent in Jamie's life. He runs away one day, as a young child in search of Rachel. He only knows she is in Portland, but can only afford a bus ticket half way there. We follow his life as a homeless child growing up on the streets who is used by two other homeless people to make money off of him. Will he find Rachel and be able to tell her what happened? Hint: yes!

The story is told through the eyes of many of the characters, primarily Rachel's, who's narration changes the older she gets. I really appreciated this as most authors don't bother to change sentence structure or tone as the person ages. Durrow did this for Rachel and Brick.

We also get glimpses into the event through the eyes of Rachel's mother, who kept a journal which is found by her neighbor and friend. Even though we get glimpses of the event and know what happened, the bigger question is why did this event happen and we are left in the dark until the very end of the book.

The characters are well developed and grow throughout the book. The writing is top notch too. Durrow definitely drew from her own life and that shows throughout the book, especially within the tension of not fitting into one culture. My copy had an interview with her, where she opens up about some of her life.

I really enjoyed this one and would highly recommend it. It might get dusty a few times in the room, but it is definitely worth the read. I gave this one 4 stars.
( )
  Nerdyrev1 | Nov 23, 2022 |
I read this for a city-wide book read our library is doing. While I think it is a really good story, I think the mom was portrayed as one of the most unaware people in the world, and also some plot points seemed to drop out of nowhere. What really took away the stars for me on this one though, was the ending. I don't need a wrapped up in a bow happy ending, but in this book, it just felt like the author was done writing the book and just stopped. And unfortunately, since the ending is the last thing that sticks with you, my disappointment in the ending is the thing that sticks with me about the book the most.
( )
  notbucket24 | Oct 2, 2022 |
I listened to the audio book version of this book. Maybe it would have been easier to follow if I had read the actual book, but I had a little trouble at the beginning keeping some of the characters' names straight. Not that the readers were not good - they were & their performances were well done. I also found it depressing - considering what the subject turned out to be, it is not surprising. The end was also a little abrupt, too, I think. Good, but not my favorite. ( )
  Wren73 | Mar 4, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 110 (next | show all)
As the child of an African American father and a Danish mother, Durrow brings piercing authenticity to this provocative tale, winner of the Bellwether Prize for Fiction.
added by sduff222 | editBooklist, Donna Seaman (Feb 1, 2010)
Taut prose, a controversial conclusion and the thoughtful reflection on racism and racial identity resonate without treading into political or even overtly specific agenda waters, as the story succeeds as both a modern coming-of-age and relevant social commentary.
added by sduff222 | editPublishers Weekly (Oct 19, 2009)
Nothing especially groundbreaking here, but the author examines familiar issues of racial identity and racism with a subtle and unflinching eye.
added by sduff222 | editKirkus Reviews (Oct 15, 2009)
But there's much more, and if the novel has a weakness, it's that it oozes conflict. Rachel, who is biracial, is abandoned by her father; a boy who witnesses the rooftop incident has his own difficulties, including a neglectful mother who's also a prostitute. But one can't help but be drawn in by these characters and by the novel's exploration of race and identity. VERDICT With similar themes to Zadie Smith's White Teeth and a tone of desolation and dislocation like Graham Swift's Waterland and Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea, this is also recommended for readers intrigued by the psychology behind shocking headlines.
added by sduff222 | editLibrary Journal, Evelyn Beck (Oct 15, 2009)
In the telling of this coming- of-age novel, Durrow manages that remarkable achievement of telling a subtle, complex story that speaks in equal volumes to children and adults.
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
If a man calls me a nigger
it's his fault the first time, but
mine if he has the
opportunity to do it again.
— Nella Larsen, Passing
Dedicated to my mother, Birgit, with all my love
First words
"You my lucky piece," Grandma says.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

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.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Rachael, whose mother is Danish and father is an African-American, loses both her parents and is forced to move to a new city to live with her strict African-American grandmother, but when she is immersed into an African-American community, her physical appearance draws attention and Rachel struggles with her own uncertainties about her identity.
Haiku summary

LibraryThing Author

Heidi W. Durrow is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

profile page | author page

Current Discussions


Popular covers

Quick Links


Average: (3.77)
1 3
1.5 1
2 24
2.5 12
3 117
3.5 40
4 196
4.5 27
5 85


An edition of this book was published by HighBridge.

» Publisher information page

HighBridge Audio

An edition of this book was published by HighBridge Audio.

» Publisher information page


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 197,832,801 books! | Top bar: Always visible