The Girl Who Fell From the Sky Summary & Study Guide

Heidi W. Durrow
This Study Guide consists of approximately 83 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Girl Who Fell From the Sky.
This section contains 531 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Girl Who Fell From the Sky Study Guide

The Girl Who Fell From the Sky Summary & Study Guide Description

The Girl Who Fell From the Sky Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Quotes and a Free Quiz on The Girl Who Fell From the Sky by Heidi W. Durrow.

NOTE: All citations in this Study Guide refer to the Kindle version of The Girl Who Fell from the Sky, published by Algonquin Books; Reprint edition (January 11, 2011).

The Girl Who Fell from the Sky follows protagonist Rachel Morse as she tries to put her tragic past behind her by bottling up her feelings. When she goes to live with her grandmother, Rachel pretends to be a new girl whose mother did not kill herself and her siblings. She remembers her father’s promise that he would come and get her.

As the years pass and her father does not come, Rachel gets more and more bogged down by the way she is judged based on the color of her skin as well as the other pressures of becoming a young adult. When the grief and stress of Rachel’s life come to a head, Brick, a boy who had seen what happened to her family, is there to tell her more of her family’s story. With Brick’s help, Rachel begins to feel as if she is a complete person—one with both a past and a future.

When Rachel was eleven years old her mother, Nella, killed herself by jumping from the roof of their nine-story apartment building in Chicago. Nella pushed her son, Robbie, to his death and held her baby daughter Ariel in her arms as she jumped. Rachel pulled away from Nella’s push but jumped from the roof when she saw her brother reaching out for her. Rachel was the only one who survived the fall.

Rachel goes to live with her Grandma in Portland after the tragedy. It is in Portland that Rachel first thinks of herself as a black person. Race had never been an issue for her before because she lived with her parents — a black man and a Danish woman — on an Air Force base overseas. Rachel also struggles to find common ground between her old-fashioned grandmother and herself. Rachel dreams of learning and college while her grandmother thinks the best Rachel can do is to get a good husband and a job as a secretary. Their relationship deteriorates further when Rachel’s aunt Loretta dies. Rachel’s grandmother buries her grief by drinking.

Meanwhile, Brick, a boy who had seen Robbie fall from the roof meets Rachel at a Salvation Army center where Rachel is working for the summer. As a child, Brick had visited Rachel in her hospital room and had gotten to know her father. Rachel’s father told Brick about Charles, Rachel’s older brother. Rachel had never known about Charles or how he died. Rachel’s father asked Brick to tell Rachel the story and explain to her why he could not come back for her.

The story is told through the points of view of a variety of narrators including Rachel, Brick, Roger, Nella, and Laronne. The stories they tell weave together to form a complete picture of Nella and Roger and their lives together. Themes addressed in the novel include the prejudice faced by black and biracial individuals as well as the different ways people handle grief in their lives.

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This section contains 531 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Girl Who Fell From the Sky Study Guide
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