G.P. Putnam’s Sons, Penguin Group (USA), February 10, 2015
Description (from amazon.com)
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.
My Review (5 Stars: Loved it!)
“My Sunshine Away”, are the last few words in one of Louisiana’s state songs, “You Are My Sunshine”, (Wikipedia). This fictional story takes place in Baton Rouge, the capital of Louisiana. It begins with the following first line.
“There were four suspects in the rape of Lindy Simpson, a crime that occurred directly on top of the sidewalk of Piney Creek Road, the same sidewalk our parents had once hopefully carved their initials into, years before, as residents of the first street in the Woodland Hills subdivision to have houses on each lot. “
The narrator was a young adolescent boy, a year younger than Lindy. He was extremely obsessed with her. He thought he was in love.
This is a coming of age story. Later in life, the narrator wonders what was he thinking about, other than Lindy. His parents were divorced. He lived with his mother. His two older sisters were living on their own or at college. When tragedy strikes his family, the narrator was concerned about his heartbroken mother, but didn’t seem to know what to do about it.
Some of the other characters are the neighbors living on his street, in his mid to upper-class neighborhood, Woodland Hills. The children start out as innocents, running and playing in the woods. However, as time goes on, the stalking begins, a violent crime is committed and the stalking continues. This novel, on many levels, is about innocence lost.
As a women, I could not help but wonder, how much of this boy’s behavior was attributed to being a normal adolescent boy and how much was extreme. My Sunshine Away was an interesting change of pace for me and kept me wondering and stunned right up to the end. Kudos to author of My Sunshine Away, M.O. Walsh.
About the author (from the author’s website)
M.O. Walsh was born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. His stories and essays have appeared in publications such as The New York Times, The Southern Review, American Short Fiction, Epoch, and Greensboro Review. His short stories have also been anthologized in Best NewAmerican Voices, Bar Stories, Best of the Net and Louisiana in Words. He is a graduate of the Ole Miss MFA program and currently lives in New Orleans, LA, where he is the Director of the Creative Writing Workshop at The University of New Orleans. He also directs the The Yokshop Writers Conference in Oxford, MS. You can follow him on Facebook.
What Others Are Saying
I would like to thank the author, M.O. Walsh and publisher, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, for providing me this book, free of charge for review.
Disclosure of Material Connection:
I received this book free from the publisher, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, Penguin Group (USA). I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.