This novel has won the Bellwether Prize (an award for literary fiction that addresses issues of social justice and the impact of culture and politics on human relationships) but it doesn't read like a 'worthy' book. And by the way, what a great cover illustration.
I enjoyed Rachel's story. She is the sole survivor of a fall which claims her mother, brother and baby sister. How and why they fell from a rooftop is the spine of the narrative. Rachel's father, an African American GI, and her Norweigan mother's relationship is complicated by alcohol abuse. So there are issues of racial identity on top of having to come to terms with the accident and the expected trials of adolescence.
Adding more layers to the narrative are two more viewpoints; one from a boy who witnesses the fall, the other from a co-worker of Nella (Rachel's mother). We also have brief, probably too brief, comments from Nella's journal. Rachel comes to live with her grandmother, and there are a lot of humourous moments to relieve some of the tension. The story resolves sentimentally with readers wanting more from what is quite a brief novel.
Happy reading, happy tales,
And so it goes...
3 years ago