Throughout “The Girl Who Fell From The Sky,” by Heidi Durrow, the main character Rachel experiences a lot of changes, and a lot of emotions about her self, life and family that she cannot explain. The book takes place over several years for her, and during those years she deals with hatred, loss, and self-questioning. I believe this is a coming of age novel because the things she deals with are key aspects of growing up, and coming of age.
Rachel deals with a lot of loss as a kid. Most of her family (minus her father) died when she was very young. As she gets older, she struggles with many memories, memories that she wishes she could return to. Though she only knew them for several years, they had a great impact on her life. Right when Rachel was getting used to life with her Aunt Lorretta and grandmother, her aunt dies tragically, leaving her once again in shock.
She also deals with a lot of hatred. At multiple points in the book, it is clear Rachel is somewhat angry at her father for not coming back for her. She needed him for support, and he did not even make an effort to contact her.
“”Why hasn’t daddy come back for me?’ I asked. ‘I just don’t know, darling. I just don’t know.’”
Rachel deals with hatred about her race from others as well. When she first moved in with her grandma and aunt, none of the other kids could figure her out, and some of them disliked her for her differences.
The most important thing Rachel deals with in this story is self-questioning. She questions constantly throughout the book whether or not she should be proud of her ethnical background. She deals with many issues as a child because she is mixed; she feels like people will not accept her because of who she is. Not just other people, actually, she has problems with self-acceptance as well.
The main shift Rachel goes through in this book is innocence to experience. She is at first innocent to racism, and fears it. Once she has an experience with racism, she learns to ignore it and be proud of who she is, and that though there are many non-accepting people in the world, there are even more that are accepting of others (this is also an example of false view of world to correct view.)
Growing up may be the hardest point in a person’s life, with all the shifts and experiences with real life problems, but is still very important. The years between childhood and adulthood are the ones where all the things you learn and experiences you have with the world lead you to be who you are in later life. In some cases, like Rachel’s, you find your true self, and learn to stick with it.