Friday, July 1, 2011

Friday Freebie: The Girl Who Fell From the Sky by Heidi W. Durrow

Congratulations to Naomi Mercer, winner of last week's Friday Freebie, Big Girl Small by Rachel DeWoskin.

This week's book giveaway is Heidi W. Durrow's The Girl Who Fell from the Sky, a novel that has been gathering a roar of critical acclaim since it was published last year.  Here's the plot summary, as found on Amazon:
Rachel, the daughter of a Danish mother and a black G.I., becomes the sole survivor of a family tragedy after a fateful morning on their Chicago rooftop. Forced to move to a new city, with her strict African-American grandmother as her guardian, Rachel is thrust for the first time into a mostly black community, where her light brown skin, blue eyes, and beauty bring a constant stream of attention her way. It’s there, as she grows up and tries to swallow her grief, that she comes to understand how the mystery and tragedy of her mother might be connected to her own uncertain identity. This searing and heartwrenching portrait of a young biracial girl dealing with society’s ideas of race and class is the winner of the Bellwether Prize for best fiction manuscript addressing issues of social justice.

The Girl Who Fell From the Sky has been compared to The Catcher in the Rye and To Kill a Mockingbird, the go-to stand-bys for those needing a baseline standard for their coming-of-age book recommendation.  But judging by the opening lines of the novel, Durrow has a clear, strong voice in the classic storytelling tradition, so the comparison may be apt.
      "You my lucky piece," Grandma says.
      Grandma has walked me the half block from the hospital lobby to the bus stop.  Her hand is wrapped around mine like a leash.
      It is fall 1982 in Portland and it is raining.  Puddle water has splashed up on my new shoes.  My girl-in-a-new-dress feeling has faded.  My new-girl feeling has disappeared.
      My hand is in Grandma's until she reaches into a black patent leather clutch for change.
      "Well, aren't those the prettiest blue eyes on the prettiest little girl," the bus driver says as we climb aboard.  The new-girl feeling comes back and I smile.

I have a new paperback copy of The Girl Who Fell From the Sky to give away.  If you'd like a chance at winning it, all you have to do is answer this question:

What author established the Bellwether Prize as a way to recognize fiction that addresses issues of social justice?  (You can find the answer on Durrow's website)

Email your answer to

Put FRIDAY FREEBIE in the e-mail subject line.  One entry per person, please.  Please e-mail me the answer, rather than posting it in the comments section.  Despite its name, the Friday Freebie runs all week long and remains open to entries until midnight on July 7--at which time I'll draw the winning name.  I'll announce the lucky reader on July 8.

1 comment:

  1. I would love to read this book! I am interested in the community's reaction to the little girl and hers to them. I had the experrience of be the only white person in an class of all black children for summer school. It was an incredible experience that I will never forget.