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The Big Door Prize
by M. O. Walsh




Overview -
The New York Times bestselling author of My Sunshine Away returns with another instant Southern classic: a gripping and heartfelt novel about a mysterious machine that upends a small Louisiana town, asking us all to wonder if who we truly are is who we truly could be.

What would you do if you knew your life's potential? That's the question facing the residents of Deerfield, Louisiana, when the DNAMIX machine appears in their local grocery store. It's nothing to look at, really--it resembles a plain photo booth. But its promise is amazing: With just a quick swab of your cheek and two dollars, the device claims to use the science of DNA to tell you your life's potential. With enough credibility to make the townspeople curious, soon the former teachers, nurses, and shopkeepers of Deerfield are abruptly changing course to pursue their destinies as magicians, cowboys, and athletes--including the novel's main characters, Douglas Hubbard and his wife, Cherilyn, who both believed they were perfectly happy until they realized they could dream for more...

Written with linguistic grace and a sense of wonder, The Big Door Prize sparkles with keen observations about what it might mean to stay true to oneself while honoring the bonds of marriage, friendship, and community, and how the glimmer of possibility can pull these bonds apart, bring them back together, and make second chances possible, even under the strangest of circumstances.

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More About The Big Door Prize by M. O. Walsh

 
 
 

Overview

The New York Times bestselling author of My Sunshine Away returns with another instant Southern classic: a gripping and heartfelt novel about a mysterious machine that upends a small Louisiana town, asking us all to wonder if who we truly are is who we truly could be.

What would you do if you knew your life's potential? That's the question facing the residents of Deerfield, Louisiana, when the DNAMIX machine appears in their local grocery store. It's nothing to look at, really--it resembles a plain photo booth. But its promise is amazing: With just a quick swab of your cheek and two dollars, the device claims to use the science of DNA to tell you your life's potential. With enough credibility to make the townspeople curious, soon the former teachers, nurses, and shopkeepers of Deerfield are abruptly changing course to pursue their destinies as magicians, cowboys, and athletes--including the novel's main characters, Douglas Hubbard and his wife, Cherilyn, who both believed they were perfectly happy until they realized they could dream for more...

Written with linguistic grace and a sense of wonder, The Big Door Prize sparkles with keen observations about what it might mean to stay true to oneself while honoring the bonds of marriage, friendship, and community, and how the glimmer of possibility can pull these bonds apart, bring them back together, and make second chances possible, even under the strangest of circumstances.

 

Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780735218482
  • ISBN-10: 073521848X
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
  • Publish Date: September 2020
  • Page Count: 384
  • Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.25 pounds


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BookPage Reviews

The Big Door Prize

In The Big Door Prize, a new machine at a small-town Louisiana grocery store adds excitement to bicentennial preparations. After customers submit a mouth swab sample, DNAMIX provides each person with a printout of his or her true potential, or “Life Station.” What’s the worst that could possibly happen? Better yet, what’s the best?

Using John Prine song lyrics as chapter titles, the novel explores idioms, preconceptions and other cultural deposits through the stories of a homemaker, a teacher, a student, a musician and scores of other citizens who try on who they “really” are. Doug and Cherilyn appear to be the ideal couple, but Cherilyn struggles with odd symptoms behind Doug’s back, and Doug’s trombone-playing aspirations get in the way of his history teaching. Jacob’s twin brother, Toby, has recently died, and when Toby’s girlfriend starts giving Jacob undue attention, he begins to question how similar or different he is from his twin. Father Pete, a chaplain at Jacob’s Catholic school, is expected to be a font of wisdom, but he’s mostly interested in listening—really listening. This cast of characters has a chance to be anyone, but can they be themselves?

The promises supplied by DNAMIX parallel the marketing-manufactured allure of online life, but ultimately, The Big Door Prize celebrates unlikely heroes, like Tipsy, the drunkard who takes up driving as a way to abstain, and Doug’s trombone teacher, who brings to mind the famous bassist Victor Wooten in his almost magical pedagogy and thrilling sounds. Over the course of the novel, these characters become genuine role models who contrast with the personalities celebrated by social media.

More than solving societal ills, The Big Door Prize calls attention to the ordinary, hard-won joys of real people. M.O. Walsh’s second novel is a feel-good read in a down-home setting, with serious undertones.

 

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