Books are cheaper than heroin, but they DO add up....

Amy, Carrie, Chanin and Sarah buy (and read and review) their own stuff. They've been known to shop around from dealer to dealer looking for the best price. If you're interested in slipping them something to try out, just contact us.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Girl Who Fell from the Sky by Heidi Durrow

There are some books that are hard for me to read because of the subject matter.  I've been reading What is the What for a little over a year now because it's about genocide and civil war in Sudan.  It is horrific and brutal because it's true (well it's a work of fiction but based on the actual events), and the fact that people lived and died in this manner breaks my heart.  There are some books that are hard for me to read because of the writing, whether it's too staid (think Tess of the D'Urbervilles) or too self-important (sorry, World, that's Catcher in the Rye), or the language is just too lovely it hurts a little to read it (Little Bee comes to mind).  This book has both tough subject matter and lovely language, yet I missed sleep to read it in its entirety.  That's pretty high praise considering the fact that my son was still waking up once or twice a night when I read this and I do NOT like to miss sleep.  I believe the author won a fairly prestigious award for this book, and in my opinion she deserves it.

The hardest kind of love to survive is the love that is too much.  The main character's mother loved her too much.  She loved all her kids too much.  Not in the bitter "you ruined me for anything else" kind of way, but rather in the "you are too good for this broken world and I can not do anything about that" kind of way.  I don't think you have to be a mother to feel and know this kind of love.  It can make a rational person manic in the best of circumstances.  Rachel Morse's mom is not working with even moderately good circumstances, and her breaking point is a tough one to swallow.

Rachel's mother is a Danish immigrant to Chicago in the early 80s.  She was met and married Rachel's African-American father when he was a GI stationed in Europe.  Their relationship is not strong enough to weather alcohol and loss, so Rachel's mother is looking for a fresh start in Chicago.  Unfortunately, she is not prepared for the differences in culture particularly regarding her children.  Brown-skinned and blue-eyed they do not fit in easily on either side of a racial divide.  It becomes overwhelming and tragic.

Though her mother has survived a broken kind of love she ultimately ends up putting too much love on her kids.  The whole family falls from the sky, but Rachel is the only the survivor.  Her whole world tumbled over the side of a building, and she survived though a part of her died as well (how could it not?).  Rachel is then sent to Oregon to live with her father's mother.  She has to relearn to live and grow again in an adopted country, in a new place, and with a grandmother whose own love is conditional.  We see Rachel grow and mature which is not an easy process.  Life is not easy for the grandmother or for Rachel, and life's unfolding doesn't make it easier on either of them.  Rachel gets reconnected to her past when the only person who saw her fall comes back into her life. 

The language is lovely.  The subject matter is difficult.  The author holds very little back (Rachel has the same heritage she does), but it's a good book.  It's truly heart-breaking but ultimately hopeful and that's hard to pull off without being trite.  I highly recommend The Girl Who Fell from the Sky if you want another lesson in the terrible power of love. Pin It

1 comment:

  1. Um, we both reviewed a book this week with the word "sky" in the title. Coincidence? I think not.