February 2010 Indie Next List
“The child of a black G.I. father and Danish mother, Rachel never felt that she had to choose between her parents until a tragic event leads her to live with her black grandmother. In this new setting, she discovers that she doesn't measure up to others' standards of 'blackness,' but she's not 'white' either. Durrow's deft portrait of Rachel's struggles to figure out who she is and where she belongs are a resonant reminder of the stereotypes that are perpetuated, often despite the best intentions.”
— Sandy Scott, The Galaxy Bookshop, Hardwick, VT
November 2010 Indie Next List
“Rachel is a girl with a tragic secret, thrust from her home to live with a distant grandmother she doesn't know. Struggling to overcome her sorrows, she tries to make sense of a new racial identity she didn't know she possessed. In doing so, she strives to find her own sense of self, defined neither by the rigid structures of her grandmother nor those of an increasingly volatile society. An outstanding, original new voice in fiction.”
— Emily Crowe, Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, MA
In the tradition of Jamaica Kincaid's "Annie John" and Toni Morrison's "The Bluest Eye," this is a moving portrait of a girl confronting society's ideas of race, class and beauty.
Inspired by a real event, this is the story of Rachel, the daughter of a Danish mother and a black G.I. The sole survivor of a family tragedy, Rachel is raised by her strict African-American grandmother in a mostly black community where her light skin, blue eyes, and beauty bring her constant attention. As she grows up in the 1980s and learns to swallow her overwhelming grief, Rachel confronts her identity as a biracial woman in a black and white world.
About the Author
Heidi W. Durrow has won the Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition and the Chapter One Fiction Contest. She has received grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the American Scandinavian Foundation, and the Lois Roth Endowment and a Fellowship for Emerging Writers from the Jerome Foundation. Her writing has been published in "Alaska Quarterly Review", the "Literary Review", and others.