5 Minutes for Books — The Sky Isn’t Visible From Here

by Jennifer Donovan

Last month I introduced one of my favorite genres of reading–the memoir–by reviewing Trail of Crumbs. Along with Kim Sunee’s journey of personal discovery, that book also focused on food and travel. The Sky Isn’t Visible From Here by Felicia Sullivan is a memoir in its true sense.

In her review of The Glass Castle, New York Times Book Reviewer Francine Prose described memoir as our modern-day fairy tales. Reading that description helped me put my finger on why I relish these stories that are so often filled with such tragedy and heartbreak. The Sky Isn’t Visible From Here leaves me dumbfounded that a person survived the types of things that life threw Sullivan. The fairy tale is that the heroine does survive, does overcome the arch enemy, and does teach the reader something about the world in which we live. In the end, a well-told memoir is not only about a person’s sky-isnt.jpgjourney, but the lessons that she learned as a result of it.

Felicia Sullivan recalls a childhood with a mother who is an addict. While there are certainly instances of clear neglect that make the reader’s heart break for the poor little girl, it is not all black and white. There are moments when the mother does fulfill they typical roles of protector, lunch-maker, and parental guide. As Sullivan grows up, she chooses to distance herself from the emotional pain that a relationship with her mother causes her. Unfortunately, she doesn’t completely avoid the problems that her drug-addicted mother suffered. Instead, as is so often the case, she ventures down that same road herself. The second half of her story focuses on her own addiction and recovery.

In spite of the heavy nature of the subjects addressed, this is essentially a story of survival, choices, and hope. One reader can win a copy of The Sky Isn’t Visible From Here by leaving a comment. We’ll announce the winner next week.

The winners of Rattled: Surviving Your Baby’s First Year Without Losing Your Cool, from last week’s column are #81 Tina, and #14 Deb Piper. You should have received an email from me.  If not, please contact us with your address.



Email Author    |    Website About Jennifer Donovan

Jennifer Donovan has been a part of the 5 Minutes for Mom team since 2007. She writes product reviews, covers events, and manages the 5 Minutes for Books weekly column and website. She lives in Houston and blogs at Snapshot about life with her family.

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{ 78 comments… read them below or add one }

1 FireMom February 25, 2008 at 12:57 am

If I win, just pass it on to the next random winner but I just have to say: this book is AMAZING. A MUST read. :)

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2 Cher Klosner Lane February 25, 2008 at 1:12 am

I always enjoy a good “fairy tale” read :) Thanks for the suggestion, Jennifer!

Cher Klosner Lane
ww.StardustLullaby.com

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3 Jessica February 25, 2008 at 1:13 am

This really is a GREAT book.. definetely read it!

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4 Noreen February 25, 2008 at 3:12 am

love reading

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5 Jennifer Barr February 25, 2008 at 8:01 am

would love to read this :)

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6 Carey February 25, 2008 at 8:31 am

Count me in!

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7 Kmommy February 25, 2008 at 8:36 am

Memoir is also my favorite genre! This one does sound like a must read!

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8 Liz February 25, 2008 at 9:22 am

Enjoyed reading The Glass Castle – although painful to imagine what those children lived through – and looking forward to a new memoir…

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9 Timothy Sternberg February 25, 2008 at 10:05 am

I always enjoy a good “fairy tale”.

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10 Michele February 25, 2008 at 10:16 am

Please enter me…it sounds like a good read.

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11 Blessed February 25, 2008 at 10:25 am

I enjoy Memoirs – this would be a neat book to read

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12 TheAngelForever February 25, 2008 at 11:44 am

This books looks like a wonderful read.

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13 Vickie Couturier February 25, 2008 at 11:46 am

sounds like really good reading

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14 Dawn February 25, 2008 at 12:03 pm

I really like these type of books, too, and this one sounds very interesting.

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15 stacy berg February 25, 2008 at 12:16 pm

I love to read!!!

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16 Helen Keeler February 25, 2008 at 12:26 pm

Would love to have please enter me.

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17 Felicia February 25, 2008 at 12:30 pm

Jennifer,

Thank you so kindly for the lovely review! What an honor to be compared to The Glass Castle – a memoir I found heartbreaking and wonderful and difficult (in a good way) all at once. And I’m glad you emphasized that this story, while dark, is one of hope. That one can overcome a difficult childhood and come out fighting, happy and healthy.

Firemom- Thanks for the sweet words. You rock!!!

Warmly, Felicia

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18 Lisa February 25, 2008 at 1:06 pm

I’m in. :)

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19 Jennifer Furtado February 25, 2008 at 1:52 pm

Count me in!

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20 Linda Pinto February 25, 2008 at 2:13 pm

I want to read this book.

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21 Julianna February 25, 2008 at 2:57 pm

Sounds really interesting. Count me in!

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22 Mary February 25, 2008 at 3:27 pm

Thanks for the generous giveaway!

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23 laura February 25, 2008 at 3:28 pm

looks like a great read! count me in!

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24 Valerie Mitchell February 25, 2008 at 3:44 pm

fabulous!

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25 Danielle S February 25, 2008 at 4:09 pm

Id love to try this book, sounds fascinating!
dansan826 at yahoo

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26 Tara February 25, 2008 at 4:14 pm

oh yes please. I really want to read this book!

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27 Kristi February 25, 2008 at 4:40 pm

I love to read, please enter me, thanks!

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28 Heather February 25, 2008 at 4:47 pm

I’d love to win Felicia’s book!

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29 Cindi Hoppes February 25, 2008 at 4:48 pm

Hi, Even though, this book sounds sad, I love the way she evolves well at the end of her book. Please enter me in your drawing. I appreciate it…..Cindi

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30 Bahama Mama February 25, 2008 at 4:54 pm

It sounds as though tons of folks loved this book. I am a huge reader and always looking for a good read, please enter me to win one!

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31 Tanya M. February 25, 2008 at 5:05 pm

Sounds like a great read! I love to read and her story sounds compelling!

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32 Vickie February 25, 2008 at 5:13 pm

Please count me in. I would like to read this book.

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33 Sarah February 25, 2008 at 5:24 pm

Wow…the world needs more memoir.

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34 Nicole February 25, 2008 at 5:30 pm

looks very interesting.

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35 Carol Harrity February 25, 2008 at 5:35 pm

I am a reader and always watching for new, good read.

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36 Bree February 25, 2008 at 5:52 pm

I’d love to read this book!

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37 Gloria February 25, 2008 at 6:15 pm

I would love to check out this book! Please add me to your giveaway :)

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38 Pam February 25, 2008 at 6:34 pm

This book sounds wonderful. Thank you for the great suggestion!

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39 Julie Mead February 25, 2008 at 6:35 pm

Looks great! Enter me please!

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40 Cindy Flores February 25, 2008 at 7:20 pm

Wow! This sounds like a good read. Please include me in the giveaway.

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41 Nancy Valdez February 25, 2008 at 8:00 pm

Sounds like a fascinating book, please count me in…

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42 Jill February 25, 2008 at 8:50 pm

I absolutely love memoirs. Count me in!

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43 Nikki Evans February 25, 2008 at 8:57 pm

Please Enter ME

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44 Susanne February 25, 2008 at 10:15 pm

Thanks for the entry…I need another to read!

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45 amydeanne February 25, 2008 at 10:38 pm

enter me!

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46 Shaun Wallner February 25, 2008 at 11:07 pm

Sounds like a great read.

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47 Megan February 26, 2008 at 1:14 am

oooh, I really want to read this one!!! Your review makes it sound so captivating!! I love these kinds of books!!

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48 Carol Ezovski February 26, 2008 at 5:01 am

I would love to read this book based on the reviews I’ve read!

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49 DARIJAVAN February 26, 2008 at 8:54 am

I’m trying to read more in 2008

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50 Patricia Simpkin February 26, 2008 at 10:32 am

It sounds like a GOOD book. I’m alway ready for a good book.

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51 BoSox Mommy February 26, 2008 at 2:34 pm

I’d like to read that.

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52 Kristie Noguera February 26, 2008 at 3:15 pm

looks like a good book.

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53 Linda SS February 26, 2008 at 3:35 pm

Sounds like this is a “must read” due to all the positive reviews – thanks for the chance to win:)

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54 Reluctant Housewife February 26, 2008 at 4:27 pm

I’ve read Glass Castle, but haven’t picked up The Sky Isn’t Visible From Here. I’d love to read it. Thanks for the review!

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55 Crystal Gleason February 26, 2008 at 4:52 pm

Looks fun!

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56 Kathy Conley February 26, 2008 at 6:04 pm

This interests me

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57 anne February 26, 2008 at 7:06 pm

I know that this would be a wonderful book to enjoy. Thanks for this great giveaway.

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58 ashley February 26, 2008 at 8:03 pm

Sounds like a great true to life read. Wish I could find more time to read with a toddler, and not stay up till after midnight reading a book I don’t want to put down!

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59 Donna February 26, 2008 at 9:01 pm

This sounds like a good book.

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60 Suzanne February 26, 2008 at 11:01 pm

Sounds like a great read!

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61 JenO February 26, 2008 at 11:55 pm

would love some new reading material, thanks for the contest!

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62 Idahospud February 27, 2008 at 11:14 am

I need another book like I need (another) hole in my head, but that’s never stopped me before! I would love to win this book!

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63 Dawn February 27, 2008 at 6:52 pm

Sounds like an interesting story, I would love to win! thanks for the chance.

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64 Naghma February 28, 2008 at 8:03 pm

thank you.

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65 L McLendon February 29, 2008 at 6:33 am

I love books!

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66 Mommie March 1, 2008 at 12:25 am

This would be great! Thanks

Mommie
http://www.mommieshome.net

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67 Diana March 1, 2008 at 3:27 am

Fabulous giveaway! Please enter me.

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68 Caryn Bailey March 1, 2008 at 12:08 pm

Awesome!

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69 Kelly March 2, 2008 at 1:17 am

I have heard wonderful things about this book and would love to read it. It’s officially added to my list.

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70 Taryn March 2, 2008 at 10:47 am

great giveaway!

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71 Michelle Rosborough March 2, 2008 at 2:52 pm

thanks

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72 Elaine Rosser March 2, 2008 at 5:31 pm

Sounds like a great read!

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73 Miss Heidi March 5, 2008 at 5:08 pm

I always love a good read. Please count me in. Thanks.
Heidi
sweet_soul_sistermi@yahoo.com

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74 Edward Durbin March 6, 2008 at 8:34 pm

Sounds Great…

Good Luck Everyone…

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75 bryon shaffer March 9, 2008 at 5:03 pm

hope i win.

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76 Timothy Selig March 11, 2008 at 1:13 am

Sure would like to win
God bless our troops

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77 Jill Rivera March 14, 2008 at 6:26 am

I would like to put my hat in to win also.

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78 John MacDonald March 19, 2008 at 9:41 pm

Count me in please!

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