A friend demanded I put down my current read (Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi) and pick up My Sunshine Away by M.O. Walsh. Because I'm confident she could kick my ass (even if it meant flying from Oklahoma to do so), I obeyed and had my local indie send me a copy.
I hate to admit it... but My Sunshine Away blew away Boy, Snow, Bird and I am so glad that I put it aside for this book. This book destroyed me in the most beautiful way. Two paragraphs in, I turned to Husband and said "I'm completely and totally here for this book". On page 124, I told him "I smell a Pulitzer". And that didn't change for the rest of the story. While the description lead me to believe it was a page turner to figure out who perpetrated the crime... the real page turning was as a result of watching the main character's personal development. In the end, my heart was broken and healed all at the same time.
I'm SO excited to see what kind of recognition this book receives this year. I'm thinking it'll be the Everything I Never Told You of 2015. And that's impressive.
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.