The Girl Who Fell From the Sky

girl-who-fell-from-the-sky

Bibliographic Information 

Audiobook $29.95
Paperback $9.34
Hardback $8.00
Kindle $8.87
Associated ISBNs 9781565126800
9781616200152 — Paperback
9781410427045 — Hardcover
9781851687459 — Paperback
9781616200374
9781448790708 — Glued Binding
9781565129627

Rating (VOYA)

5Q, 3.5P

This is a 5Q because it is quite amazingly written, in a broken narative in several characters points of view.

It’s a 3.5 because I think that the material is hard to read, and that it will become more appealing over the next few years given the current state of race relations in the States.

Readers Annotation

She fell. Now she must learn how to live.

Summary

Follow the story of the girl who fell from the sky. Told through five different points of view centered around the tragedy of the family who fell from the sky.

Rachel has just moved in with her Grandmother in Seattle after her family fell off the roof of their apartment in Chicago. She is a mixed race girl, coming from a black serviceman and a white Danish girl. She must learn to negotiate a world where people are defined by the color of their skin, while learning to live with her Grandmother and aunt. Her Grandmother is a proud black woman, rich in faith. Her aunt is a proud black woman struggling after her divorce. Rachel must deal with black girl bullies, boys who will take advantage of her kind nature and the death of her aunt. After she is taken advantage of by a boy her Grandmother sends her to volunteer at the Salvation Army.

Brick is a boy when he sees the boy fall from the sky. He lies to the reporter who asks him if he saw anything and says he saw a man on the roof with the family who fell. He visits the girl who lived in the hospital. He bonds with her father in her hospital room. Her father gives him a message to tell her but she moves to Seattle before he can. He runs away from home to get to her and ends up on the street for a few years until he meets her at the Salvation Army.

Nella has left her husband and moved to Chicago with her boyfriend. She is trying to stay sober. She is finding out that things are different in the States than they are in Europe and that there are things she just can’t say.

Evaluation

This is the single most depressing book I’ve read. Here’s the thing about this book, it is incredibly depressing, and disheartening, but its also kind of beautiful. I cried at the end of it. It was very moving. Its a hard read, not because of language or length, but because the subject matter is so hard to stomach.

This was very effectively written, until the very end you were not sure of all the details pertaining to the Event that set the book in motion. I liked the non-linear construction and the switching points of view. The characters were well rounded. You could feel their pain through the story and could understand their motivations.

I wouldn’t necessarily call this an enjoyable read, I got no joy out of it, but it was a moving read.

This would work very well for its audience. Its an amazing story of actions and consequences, depression, and race. This would be a great book to give someone who would want to understand what it feels like to be displaced in the world.

I think a flaw is that it can be so hard to deal with the emotion that some people may need to walk away from the book, which would be a shame.

Genre

Coming-of-age, Literary Fiction, Psychological Fiction

Readalikes

Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin

The Sea by John Banville

Significance

This book gives the unique perspective of a mixed race girl who was raised in Europe and then moves to the States. This move shows how different blacks are treated in Europe as compared to the states. This is one of the main struggles of the main character (Rachel).

Book Discussion Questions and Ideas

How does the book portray race?

Why do you think Nella did what she did?

Do you think that Rachel will be able to live a happy life?

Author’s website

Hiedi W. Durrow

Awards

PEN/Bellwether Prize

Reviews

 

Why I Chose It

I wanted to read this book because it sounded like an interesting premise and a great commentary on race relations both in the United States and comparatively in Europe. It was also a serious Literary novel, and I’ve never really read Literary so I wanted to read one that sounded appealing.

Other Information

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Room

room

Bibliographic Information 

Audiobook $15.39
Paperback $7.19, $10.17
Hardback $18.41
Kindle $7.99
Associated ISBNs 9780316098335
9781554688326
9780316268356
9780316391344
9781443449618
9781443449625
9780316098328 — Paperback
9780316223232 — Paperback
9780316120579 — Paperback
9780330519014
9781448759729 — Glued Binding
9780316174626
9782253167303 — Paperback
9780330519922
9780606265058 — Glued Binding

9781554688319

Rating (VOYA)

5Q, 4P

This is an extremely well written book.

Because of the movie, and the buzz around it, popularity for this book may be on the rebound.

Readers Annotation

Jack has only known Room.

Summary

Jack is turning five. He lives with his mother in Room. Room has no windows, just a skylight. Room’s door only opens when the code is put in. Jack loves Room.

Jack loves Room. Jack and Mom have a routine for every day. Every night “Old Nick” comes and Jack hides in the closet and counts the squeeks.

One day Mom decides that they need to leave after Jack asks about Outside and doesn’t understand. They come up with a plan. Jack will pretend to be sick and “Old Nick” will take him to the hospital. This plan fails, so plan B is to pretend that Jack died. Mom rolls Jack up in a rug and tells him exactly what to do. “Old Nick” takes Jack and puts him in the back of his truck. Jack worms out of the rug and jumps from the truck at a stop. “Old Nick” sees him and chases him. Jack runs to a man with a dog and a baby, who eventually calls the cops.

Mom is rescued and they go to the police station.

After the police, they are transfered to a mental health institution. Jack wonders when they can go back to Room. There’s too much space in Outside.

Jack meets his grandmother, step-pa, and his uncle. When Jack goes out with his uncle he steals a book, but doesn’t understand what he’s done. When he comes back Mom isn’t breathing. He goes to stay with his grandmother and step-pa while she recovers.

When Mom is finally better, they move into a assisted living aparment.

In the end they revisit Room and Jack realizes how small his world was.

Evaluation

This was a hard book to listen to. Its not a happy book in the least and it was disturbing at times. It was so good, but I don’t want to say I enjoyed it (though I guess I did, its hard to say you enjoyed something twisted). It really provoked some dark and sad emotions in me. Its a dark subject matter, but telling it from the child’s perspective helped soften the blow a little bit. It would have been more disturbing from the mother’s perspective. Jack just doesn’t understand what he’s missing and his mother is struggling so hard just to live. It was a really real portrait.

The characters were very real. You could feel the frustration of Jack, and his mother, and later his extended family. They were all trying so hard to make it all work. The best character was the Step-pa, because he was the only one who seemed to understand what Jack was going through in the Outside.

I think people who like Literary fiction would like this one. Its dark and twisted and shows a side of life that people wouldn’t think about. Literary seems to be all about think pieces and dark subject matter after all.

Genre

Literary fiction, Psychological suspense

Readalikes

His Illegal Self by Peter Carey

Pretty Is by Maggie Mitchell

Significance

The significance is that the story is told from the POV of a child born into captivity, having known nothing else. Its a unique perspective, especially since he struggles with the views of people who knew/know the Outside.

Book Discussion Questions and Ideas

Discuss which treatment of Jack was better: Ma, Grandma or Step-pa.

How realistic do you think the story was?

What would you have done in Ma’s situation?

Author’s website

Emma Donoghue

Awards

ALA Notable Books – Fiction: 2011

Alex Award: 2011

CBA Libris Awards (Canadian Booksellers Association): Fiction Book of the Year

Commonwealth Writers’ Prize: Best Book: Regional Award: Caribbean & Canada

Forest of Reading Awards: Evergreen Award

Goodreads Choice Awards: 2010

Indies’ Choice Book Awards: Adult Fiction

Kentucky Bluegrass Award: Grades 9-12

Library Journal Top Ten

New York Times Notable Books – Fiction and Poetry: 2010

Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize

Reviews

Kirkus

PW

Why I Chose It

This one had a lot of buzz because the movie came out last year. I had tried Emma Donoghue before and hadn’t gotten into it, but this one was supposed to be really good. I picked it because everyone was talking about it.

Other Information