"I learn that black people don't have blue eyes. I learn that I am black. I have blue eyes. I put all these new facts into the new girl."
Even though the tone of The Girl Who Fell from the Sky reads like a young adult novel, told simply from the point of view of the characters--a young boy fascinated by birds, an immigrant mother, Rachel, the young protagonist--the book itself is drenched in disturbing realities and complex subjects, including race and identity.
Where Did You Sleep Last Night?: A Personal History is a memoir about one of the the more melancholy aspects of Danzy Senna's childhood: her relationship with her father. Senna's parents, an interracial couple, married in 1968 with dreams of being a part of an idyllic, multicultural family. This book is a complex blend of remembrance, internal exploration, and detective work, as Senna travels throughout the South to uncover pieces of her father's story she never knew as a child and young adult.
Though Senna does ultimately finds something that resembles acceptance and understanding, Where Did You Sleep Last Night? does not have a tidy ending, which only lends the book its charm. I talked to Senna about the challenges of writing such a personal story, and what she gained in the process.