Rachel, the daughter of a Danish mother and a black G.I., becomes the sole survivor of a family tragedy. With her strict African-American grandmother as her new guardian, Rachel moves to a mostly black community, where her light brown skin, blue eyes, and beauty bring mixed attention her way. Growing up in the 1980s, she learns to swallow her overwhelming grief and confronts her identity as a biracial young woman in a world that wants to see her as either black or white.
Durrow skillfully creates a character who walks the fine line of diversity in 1980s Oregon. Rachel struggles to understand what it means to be biracial after having grown up in a home where race was never discussed. Mixed in with Rachel's bildungsroman is a mystery regarding the death of her mother, and the ways the community came together for Rachel and her family across the years. Touching and eye-opening, this is a portrait of a young girl and society's views of race, gender, economic standing, and physical beauty.
Reviewed by lc, 08/16. Other reviews by lc.