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Friday, July 24, 2015

My Sunshine Away: A Novel

A good review is enough to get me to pick up a new book, and so now we are here with M.O. Walsh's My Sunshine Away. Thank goodness for that.

Baton Rouge is the lesser reveled cousin of New Orleans, yet the natives know that this is Louisiana's best kept secret. The summer of 1989 was sweltering, and it was the summer that 15-year-old Lindy Simpson was raped and left for dead. Suddenly the safety of home was taken away from an entire neighborhood. Her neighbor, a boy just a year younger yet so in love with Lindy, tells the story of the crime and the aftermath, and how the crime ripped apart families and friends. As he looks back on this summer, he must face the trappings of memory and nostalgia and where the two intersect.

I was quite blown away by this novel to be upfront and frank with you. I wasn't expecting such a punch in the gut from this piece, but when I finally came up for air, I felt winded and heartbroken yet peaceful. It's quite a combination, really, and one well worth discovering for yourself in this novel. We all remember what it is like to be a twitterpated teenager in unrequited love. It was our neighbor, or our lab partner, or the lifeguard at the pool that summer. We yearned from afar, with fantasies about how we would confess our love and how the other person would secretly be feeling the exact same way. Our hearts filled, and they broke. That feeling came rushing back and hit me like a ton of bricks with this book, and it was so raw that my heart hurt for some time.

The crime was always front and center in the story, and it became a character unto itself. How the narrator dealt with it, and how Lindy dealt with it, were two completely separate yet conjoined processes. The relationship they form was disturbing and doomed from the beginning, yet I watched it like a train wreck I saw coming from miles away. I didn't want our beloved narrator to drown in his love for Lindy, yet there was no other way this story could have taken place. When his world implodes, I was with him and I wanted to sweep him away, but I couldn't.

The end of this story will reaffirm your belief in humanity, and it will make you so happy you stayed with these characters throughout the novel. This book was gut-wrenchingly beautiful, and I recommend it to you wholeheartedly.

For purchase below. 

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