Sunday, July 24, 2011

Book Review: The Girl Who Fell from the Sky by Heidi W. Durrow

I was really not impressed by this book (but very happy to have at least added another book to my 2011 Reading List).  The Girl Who Fell from the Sky was like something I could have read in middle school.  The characters seriously lacked depth and the plot, which was really boring and uncomplicated, didn't make up for it. I guessed at the resolution to the main "suspense" early in the book.   It just left me wanting . . . 50 pages left to the  novel and I couldn't wait to get through it in hopes that something, anything would happen.  And it never did.  Also, I found the style of writing to be choppy and all over the place although I can respect that author's attempt at artistry in her writing.  

I wanted to like this book.  It promised to explore issues of race from the perspective of a biracial girl.  I was hoping for a wonderful peek into how a biracial girl, living in an urban (read: predominantly lower-income Black neighborhood) would negotiate her way in this setting.  The main character, Rachel, seems to deal with issues that would not be exclusive to her as a biracial girl.  The teasing is something that anyone who is different (i.e., who doesn't fall into the "normal" category for a particular culture which in this case is low-income, inner-city, Black culture) can expect.  Things like being ridiculed for not being "black" enough or trying to "act white" or being accused of thinking oneself better or smarter or just different.  And the character of Rachel doesn't handle herself in any way that would stand out.  In fact, the main issue Rachel seems to be dealing with is the psychotic behavior of her desperate mom and the repercussions of bad decisions.  And this is heavy stuff but Durrow keeps it at the cotton candy, fluffy sweet level and we never get to delve deeply into theses issues (and, as I was hoping, how they are complicated by the fact that Rachel is half-Black and half-White).  Some real potential there, I thought.  

The book really just fell flat, unfortunately.  Sorry, I can't recommend this one.  

Getting Friendly with Fat

I've deep into learning about the paleo/primal lifestyle and one of the things that's the hardest for me to embrace is eating more fat.  The reasoning behind why we should be eating more healthy fats (such as avocado and coconut oils) makes total sense: eating fat does not translate into one's body making fat (in much the same way eating high cholesterol doesn't mean you'll have high cholesterol).  But after doing Weight Watchers for over a year, it totally makes me nervous.  If I'm building a recipe in the recipe builder and add 2 tablespoons of coconut oil to a recipe, the Points values per serving will indeed go up 3 or even 4 points sometimes.  But one thing I'm realizing is that if I eat more fat at a meal I feel fuller which means I look to eat less, i.e. no real need to snack.  So in that way, it all balances out at the end of the day.  But old habits die hard and psychologically I am still struggling to get friendly with fat.

On another note about paleo living, I have decided to take the transition really slowly.  On my 21st birthday, true to my all-or-nothing personality, I went vegan cold turkey.  I just stopped eating meat, eggs, cheese, milk and milk products--any kind of animal product.  And I think I did myself a huge disservice.  Had the transition been more gradual, I maybe would have noticed how badly I felt after eating particular things.  But I went from a standard American diet to a plant based diet just like that . . .  I didn't give myself a chance to compare the two really and kept feeling that I felt bad because I wasn't doing veganism well enough. It was my ideal and I held on to it for dear life until I just couldn't anymore.  So I kind of realize that paleo is basically the flip side of veganism.  In fact, it's probably the polar opposite.  It could be considered extreme but it really makes sense to me right now.  I guess the difference is that now I have all the wisdom I've gained over these years and a clearer perception.  I'm still on a quest for optimal health.  I haven't given up hope that I can get rid of my allergies.  Maybe improve my vision.  But I realize that there are genetics at play and maybe, even with all the dietary changes I could ever make, I may still struggle with these things.  That's okay.  I am willing to give paleo a good try.  30 day challenge.  Read as much as I can.  Listen to as much as I can (I've been listening to the Everyday Paleo podcast which is amazing--I've learned so much and it's perfect for me since the hosts are all parents . . . they relate everything to children and family which is just what I need).  And abandon ship if I feel worse.  But with just the minor adjustments I have made on the way to eating paleo full-time, I can say that my skin is clearer and I have more energy and alertness.  So I have a feeling that it may be for me (with an occasional cheat for organic popcorn)!


Isn't it interesting how much psychology plays into food, eating, weight loss and health? Especially for women.  

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