Just a few days short of my estranged daughter Heather Jasmine Ehrlich's birthday I finished The Girl Who Fell From The Sky by Heidi W Durrow. The girl from the title is Rachel. Rachel grows up with many questions, but the one which touched me at this time of year is: "Where is... who is my father?"
For many good hearted reasons, Rachel hears very little of her father as she grows up. Much like my own story, even when she finally gets some news, the result is ambiguous and inconclusive.
This novel, like real life, is richer and deeper than just a missing father, and each revealed truth is accompanied by a harder follow-on question. Rachel's mom is Danish and her father is African American. She's already in school when the family moves from Europe to the United States. Both Rachel and her mother have to adjust to a culture where Rachel is now considered to be Black and that is now her defining characteristic.
Rachel adjusts better than her mother who throws herself and her children off the top of their apartment building. Rachel survives and moves in with her grandmother - her father's mother. By now she is in junior high and she needs to adjust to her maturing sexuality.
Through all of this her family and friends take turns supporting and sabotaging her. In the end I have no better idea about Rachel's future than I do about Heather Jasmine Ehrlich's, or anyone else's for that matter. A wonderful story of growing up in a real world.
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