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My Sunshine Away
by M. O. Walsh


Overview -

THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
-A tantalizing mystery and a tender coming-of-age story...Unputdownable.---Oprah.com
In the summer of 1989, a Baton Rouge neighborhood best known for cookouts on sweltering summer afternoons, cauldrons of spicy crawfish, and passionate football fandom is rocked by a violent crime when fifteen-year-old Lindy Simpson--free spirit, track star, and belle of the block--is attacked late one evening near her home.  Read more...


 
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Overview

THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
-A tantalizing mystery and a tender coming-of-age story...Unputdownable.---Oprah.com
In the summer of 1989, a Baton Rouge neighborhood best known for cookouts on sweltering summer afternoons, cauldrons of spicy crawfish, and passionate football fandom is rocked by a violent crime when fifteen-year-old Lindy Simpson--free spirit, track star, and belle of the block--is attacked late one evening near her home. As the dark side of this idyllic stretch of Southern suburbia is revealed, the close-knit neighborhood is irreversibly transformed.
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.
Named A Book of the Year by NPR, The Dallas Morning News, Kirkus Reviews, and Booklist
An Entertainment Weekly 'Must List' Pick

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780399169526
  • ISBN-10: 0399169520
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
  • Publish Date: February 2015
  • Page Count: 320
  • Reading Level: Ages 18-UP

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Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2015-01-26
  • Reviewer: Staff

In Walsh’s debut, a horrible crime shatters a community in 1989 Baton Rouge, La., when teenager Lindy Simpson is raped and her attacker is never caught. The nameless narrator of this tale is an adolescent boy with a crush on Lindy. The narrator’s love for Lindy manifests in a desperate desire to connect with her under any circumstances, causing him to be suspected of her assault. This need to connect grows stronger after his sister dies in a freak accident and that draws him and Lindy closer together. Everything comes to a head when he tries to play the hero and expose the man he thinks was her rapist on their street. Walsh’s novel is both tenderly nostalgic and a window into a unique and specific corner of America. The narration moves seamlessly between the adult narrator’s thoughts and his memories as a teenager. Despite the dark subject matter, this book is often charming, and thoroughly immersive. Agent: Renee Zuckerbrot, the Renee Zuckerbrot Literary Agency. (Feb.)

 
BookPage Reviews

Two sides of a Louisiana neighborhood

Louisiana’s capital city, Baton Rouge, has its fair share of glamorous and not-so-glamorous stories. M.O. Walsh, author of My Sunshine Away, grew up there, so he captures these contradictions effortlessly in his stunning debut.

Set in 1989, the novel tells the heartbreaking story of Lindy Simpson, the once carefree and spirited track star whose life goes awry after she is attacked on her own street. The mystery unravels from the perspective of Lindy’s childhood neighbor and playmate, now 14, who has been in love with Lindy for as long as he can remember.

While showing the chilling effect the crime has on all of Piney Creek Road, Walsh also raises the question of how a horrific crime can happen in a seemingly idyllic neighborhood. And the answer is, like so many things in Louisiana, that nothing is as ideal as it seems. Kids playing in the street are in constant battle against being smothered by mosquitoes and humidity. Neighborhood cookouts buzz with energy but also the gossip of divorce and family tragedies.

Walsh juxtaposes the beauty and terror of the place in a way that leaves you utterly captivated. It’s a world that seems foreign to outsiders but also resonates with the most universal of sentiments, including the desire to belong, the way memory can both create and fill voids, and how peace often follows the realization that the potential for good is in all of us.

From beginning to end, My Sunshine Away is full of wisdom, wit and wonder.

 

This article was originally published in the February 2015 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
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