The Girl Who Fell From The Sky

“You my luck 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.

These are the opening lines of The Girl Who Fell From The Sky by Heidi W. Durrow, a beautiful, powerful novel. The story opens with Rachel, the daughter of a Danish woman and a black G. I., arriving in Portland after a terrible tragedy claims her family. For the first time, Rachel lives in a mostly black community and grows up trying to come to terms with her identity and the events that brought her to live with her strict African American grandmother.

The writing is taunt and riveting. I stayed up late two nights in a row to read this book, savouring the writing style as much as the plot. A must read.

This novel won the Bellwether Prize for Fiction for the best fiction manuscript addressing issues of social justice.

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