I had mentioned this book last summer Here because it received a lot of early buzz and the author is just outright cool (a former attorney, the podcaster behind Mixed Chicks Chat.
The Girl Who Fell from the Sky is already on the The 2010 February Indie Next List.
This debut novel tells the story of Rachel, the daughter of a Danish mother and a black G.I. who becomes the sole survivor of a family tragedy.
With her strict African American grandmother as her new guardian, Rachel moves to a mostly black community, where her light brown skin, blue eyes, and beauty bring mixed attention her way. Growing up in the 1980s, she learns to swallow her overwhelming grief and confronts her identity as a biracial young woman in a world that wants to see her as either black or white.
Meanwhile, a mystery unfolds, revealing the terrible truth about Rachel’s last morning on a Chicago rooftop. Interwoven are the voices of Jamie, a neighborhood boy who witnessed the events, and Laronne, a friend of Rachel’s mother. Inspired by a true story of a mother’s twisted love, The Girl Who Fell from the Sky reveals an unfathomable past and explores issues of identity at a time when many people are asking “Must race confine us and define us?”
In the tradition of Jamaica Kincaid’s Annie John and Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, here is a portrait of a young girl—and society’s ideas of race, class, and beauty.
It is a winner of the Bellwether Prize for best fiction manuscript addressing issues of social justice.
from her blog:
My Real Grandmother from Heidi Durrow on Vimeo.