“It was the summer everything changed….”
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.
- The writing was phenomenal…not in a ‘talks over your head, wordy literary prose’ type of way; rather, in a ‘how did he put together such a wonderful sentence that so perfectly evokes just the right feeling’ type of way.
- The mystery…there are 4 suspects in the crime against Lindy Simpson and I LOVE that the narrator was one of them. The author did a masterful job of making me feel I knew this narrator, I trusted him, I felt for his awkward teenage dilemmas and his unrequited love for Lindy, though all the while I still had whispers of doubts about his innocence.
- The 1989 time period….I was a high school teenager in 1989 and this author literally took me back to that time…talking to friends on a phone with a CORD while hoping no one else picked up the second home phone, watching the Challenger explosion at school, banana seat bikes, no helmet bike riding, those certain kids from those certain families that you knew were just “off” but being a kid yourself you didn’t know why.
- The cliffhanger chapters…brilliant!
- The unnamed narrator (I swear I didn’t even realize I didn’t know his name until I went to write this!) is telling the story from a point many years in the future, a technique I love and that enables him to provide the hindsight of an adult while still telling the story from a teenager’s perspective
- The tension the author managed to create in the last 10% took my rating from a solid 4 to a 4.5
If you’re wondering what kept this from being a 5 star rating, it was one minor issue I had with what I’d describe as an odd veering off of the plot when there was an entire chapter devoted to the difference between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. This threw the pace off for me and I found myself skimming to get back to the main storyline. Minor issue but that’s why. In the end, I really enjoyed this book and I’m so glad I’ve decided to incorporate these older reads into my summer reading along with the new releases…there are so many gems from the past still out there! If you’ve read this one I’d love to hear your thoughts…
More Throwback Thursday Picks Around the Blogosphere
Jill at Jill’s Book Cafe
Deanna at DeesRadReads and Reviews
Amanda at Literary Weaponry
Stephanie at Stephanie’s Novel Fiction
Cathy at Between the Lines
P Turners at The PTurnersbookblog
Julie at Novel Thrills and Chills