My Sunshine Away unfolds in a Baton Rouge neighborhood best known for cookouts on sweltering summer afternoons, cauldrons of spicy crawfish, and passionate football fandom. But in the summer of 1989, when fifteen-year-old Lindy Simpson—free spirit, track star, and belle of the block—experiences a horrible crime late one evening near her home, it becomes apparent that this idyllic stretch of Southern suburbia has a dark side, too.
In My Sunshine Away, M.O. Walsh brilliantly juxtaposes the enchantment of a charmed childhood with the gripping story of a violent crime, unraveling families, and consuming adolescent love. Acutely wise and deeply honest, it is an astonishing and page-turning debut about the meaning of family, the power of memory, and our ability to forgive.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
What a book to read on the way through Baton Rouge! Incidentally I was reading this book on the way to NOLA, so it was very appropriate.
I honestly can’t think of a single negative thing to say about this novel. It starts out raising the curiosity of the reader and keeps that pace and momentum going until the very end.
This book deals with a very serious issue, rape, but also with what it is like to come of age in a typical American neighbourhood. The trials and tribulations of an adolescent boy’s life are laid out plainly and truthfully on these pages, but in such a way that even a person never having been in the same situation can understand and appreciate.
The descriptions that M.O. Walsh uses in his writing are more than adequate, they transform a page full of words into a hot Louisiana night, where you can smell the air and see the happenings of the neighbours.
I was impressed with the way he chose to end this book as well. Since the story was built mostly around one important event, I half expected it to end the way most authors would have chosen to take it. This was different. Well thought out and unexpected, the climax of this story did the rest of the book justice.
I cannot recommend this book enough. Tasteful, exciting, fresh writing from an author I hope to see much more from.
This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.