The Sky Isn't Visible From Here (A Book Review)

Filed in Gather Books Essential by on February 6, 2008 0 Comments

fileId:3096224744466097There are books that stick to you like a soaked shirt,  no matter how you try to separate yourself from them they cling to you.  “The Sky Isn’t Visible From Here, Scenes from a Life” by Felicia C. Sullivan is one of those books.  The haunting telling of Felicia Sullivan’s story is sometimes poetic, other times brutally dark.

A passage that shows Sullivan’s command of the language is her description of her walk to go swimming one early morning.  ” As I walked uphill to Seventh Avenue, the sky darkened to a deep bruise, and it began to pour.”

As I read Sullivan’s book I found myself hoping she would find a protector like Jean Valjean in Les Miserables.  Felicia’s mother wasn’t capable because she was deep into the world of drugs and was little help to the maturing young woman.  Instead, Felicia had to struggle through almost alone.  Early on she found it was easiest to fabricate a persona. She studied people like a sociologist to learn the “proper ways to act”.   Throughout the story you are introduced to people who impacted her life, positive or negative but ultimately it is all up to her the direction she took her life.  You celebrate the young woman who looked as if she had managed to overcome all the odds.  Then with sadness the reader watches as the young woman slowly tumbles into the dank world of drug and alcohol addiction. 

Lisa Dierbeck, author of “One Pill Makes You Smaller” says of “The Sky Isn’t Visible Here, Scenes From A Life”, “This story is a Brooklyn Cinderella’s; the endearing new voice is fresh.  Funny, fierce, wobbling like a colt on new legs, Sullivan leaps from these pages as a fighter.”

The title of this book aptly describes the form of the book which switches time periods with each chapter just like scenes from a play.  It is important to pay attention to the dates that begin each chapter or the reader may spend a page or two wondering what is going on. 

The author chronicles her story with a willingness to share the secrets she hid behind her created persona.  She opens up to the audience and allows them in to witness her almost torturous childhood; all the time claiming she walked away from her mother while dragging her with her emotionally as she tries to create an ideal life. 

This is a book worth investing the time to read.  It shows the spirit of survival against all odds.


The author is a graduate of the Columbia University MFA program and a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee.  Her work can be found in numerous anthologies.  She was the recipient of the 2005 Tin House memoir fellowship and a Best American Essays 2006 notable author.  In 2001, she founded the critically acclaimed literary journal Small Spiral Notebook. 

The Sky Isn’t Visible from Here, Scenes from a Life

by Felicia C. Sullivan

255 pages

ISBN 13: 978-1-56512-515-5

US $23.95

About the Author ()

I'm a playwright, poet, and essayist. You can usually spot me by my long grey hair and my laugh or smile. My passion is writing for Positive Change. My play LUMPs (dealing with breast cancer) is just one of the ways I write for such change. My goal i

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