Skye Falling by Mia McKenzie
Skye Falling reflects on the decisions that we make when we are young and the ripples that come from the choice we make.
At 26, while broke, Skye, a queer Black woman, donates her eggs with zero hesitation to a woman that she knows who is unable to conceive. Years later, approaching 40 and on a short visit home from her traveling, Skye is surprised by the existence of a 12 year old that sprung from one of her eggs. The ensuing story ruminates on the choices we make, the meaning of family, and what exactly does it mean to be a mother?
As always, I want to put a disclaimer that this book involves infertility, abuse, transphobia, racism, and police brutality. None of these will be touched on in any detail in this review, but I want to include a warning before you pick up the book.
There has recently been a spate of books tackling motherhood from an LGBTQ+ perspective. We so often only talk about motherhood within certain contexts, but the reality is that motherhood is often really complicated. Mia McKenzie does a wonderful job of navigating a thorny issue with humor and tact.
Here's the thing though, this is a book where you don't particularly like Skye, the main character. She's immature, flighty, and extremely self-centered. A majority of the book is Sky avoiding her responsibilities and panicking at the idea of any close relationships. I don't want to be cliche and say that then 12-year old Vicky appears and it all changes. Life isn't that simple and Skye proves that. However, the appearance of Vicky does cause Skye to start re-evaluating the state of her life as she nears her 40s. Nonetheless, the different representations of motherhood were really beautiful.
McKenzie saves the book with her side characters, Viva, in particular. Viva is Skye's one remaining friend and a staple in their West Philly neighborhood. The book really comes to life when the side characters appear and you cannot help but pick up that this is a love letter of sorts to the neighborhoods that these characters inhabit.
Each chapter gets better and better, but the one single thing that kept me from loving the book is the portion of the book that is romance centered. It felt like the story just ended up wrapped up beautifully in a neat little package when it began as an exciting rumination on the choices that we make when we are young. I laughed out loud at several sections and, overall, loved seeing the journey of all the characters.
I will be excited to see what McKenzie writes in the future and while I don't know that this will be a favorite book of the year, it has done a really good job of sticking with me.
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