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Rainlight

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  184 ratings  ·  22 reviews
The moving story of a father who dies young and the family he leaves behind

Even in a small town people have secrets, including how much they really mean to each other. In Alison McGhee’s haunting debut, a tragic event sparks revelations from nine-year-old Mallie, her mother, her grandfather, a waitress, and Mallie’s father’s ex-lover. They discover long-hidden truths and f...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published November 3rd 2001 by Picador (first published 1998)
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Jess
This was the fifth book I read for my Introduction to College Literature class and so far the most contemporary. This is a great book to read for class because it was full of symbolism and imagery, and it really makes the reader respond.

The novel is told from the point of view of four characters but primarily revolves around Mallie, a nine-year-old girl whose father Starr has recently died in an accident, leaving her searching for answers in all the wrong places. We watch these characters (whic...more
Mindy
"They're born and your life expands, it bulges with their presence for the rest of your days. They change you in every way you can think of, they push mountains up on the horizon and make canyons and valleys in the terrain of your life. But what you don't realize until later, what is unimaginably difficult to see, is that you cannot will your children's fates."

This is a serious read that centers around the death of a father and the effects it has on those closest to him. Each chapter is told by...more
Britta
"You think there's time. I always thought there was. I thought that someday I would talk, tell [her] the things I wanted to tell her, the bits of shape and color and sound that were what came to me when I thought of her. At night when she was asleep I smelled he hair. There was a smell of leaves and nutmeg that came from her when she was asleep. I could ahve told her that. I thought I would someday, but then she was gone."

"There are things you were going to say but you didn't. There's the rest o...more
Lois
I had to read this book slowly to “get it”, but that’s not a bad thing.

When I first started it, I was a little distracted, and after reading about the first 8 or 10 pages, I really didn’t know what had happened, but I was curious.

So I started over, when I could totally focus (as I should have been doing the first time anyway), and what developed was a lovely telling of a mostly sad story. All of the characters have secrets, or guilt, or regret, and each chapter is told by one of them, and lets y...more
Rosie
Very good!
Nicole
Loved this beautiful book! This is my second book by Ms. McGhee and I see a pattern of fascinating themes and settings evolving. I look forward to reading more. The flow of her books are just amazing too. They feel soft and sleepy but engaging at the same time.
Cathy Aquila
The character development was weak. I had a hard time keeping track of who was who. I also thought the author didn't have a grasp on the abilities of a 9 year old and 3 year old. Chinese is a hard language to grasp and I had a hard time believing that a 9 year old could become conversant in a few months. Otherwise, the story was a nice one.
Chris Leuchtenburg
Short, searing story of tragically unfulfilled desire and wrong turns in life. Read for Contemporary Book Group. Some members of the group found the plot had too many coincidences and too much tragedy, and one person thought the ideas were new agey (what a put down!) I found the book to be moving and thought provoking, but maybe I’m a rube.
Nikee Huntington


I was surprised to enjoy this book, as I couldn't even finish reading McGhee's book, "Shadow Baby". I was originally put off by the book containing the same bus driver, towns & landmarks from the other book, but the books are not at all related - just take place in the same parts of NY. this story was well written and the touching.
Michael
There are a couple of wobbly steps in the beginning of this dreamy, close-focus novel, but it nonetheless made me weep like a baby at the climactic moment. The saddest of Alison McGhee's adult novels, all of which work the melancholy side of the tracks.
Carolyn
Very, very sad. But rewarding and beautifully written.

Recommended by Kristin to me back in 2004. Geez, we've known each other online for a LONG TIME now. ;)
Abigail (Abbe)
I am sad to say I could not read a MN book. but i could not get past page one... i just couldn't follow it. and life is too short to waste time on an ok book. forgive me ms. mcghee.
Swanbender2001
I found this story to be about loving and accepting and opening ourselves up after a heartbreaking grief and I highly recommend this author.
Melissa
Aug 05, 2008 Melissa rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone!
Shelves: my-favs
What an amazing read!! Rainlight is honest, and relevant to most anyone - an emotional experience well worth taking.
Amber
Gracious, this was the most depressing book I've read in a long time. Don't read it unless you want a real downer.
Heather
Middle of the pack of this years' reads.... not that memorable for me on either spectrum.
Stacy
2.75 out of 5.
For best results see Amazon.com for review.
Ann
This is a beautiful book--heartbreaking and hopeful.
Lee Anne
A thoughtful and rather sad story, but not a sad ending.
Denidevine
This is a beautiful sad novel.
DJ
Good not great. Somewhat predictable.
Kathleen
A sad and wonderful book.
MaryJo
MaryJo marked it as to-read
Oct 20, 2014
Casandra
Casandra marked it as to-read
Sep 19, 2014
Tracy
Tracy marked it as to-read
Sep 17, 2014
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Alison McGhee is the award-winning author of picture books, poems, and novels for all ages, including the young adult novel ALL RIVERS FLOW TO THE SEA and the #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestseller SOMEDAY, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds. Alison McGhee lives in Minnesota.
More about Alison McGhee...
Someday Shadow Baby Julia Gillian (and The Art Of Knowing) All Rivers Flow To The Sea Snap

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