My Sunshine Away by M.O. Walsh
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
One evening, on a quiet suburban street in Baton Rouge, fifteen-year-old Lindy Simpson is raped. Her rape changes the fabric of her neighborhood, as narrated by her fourteen-year-old male neighbor, who had a huge crush on the lovely Lindy, a popular track star. He takes the readers through the various suspects--all members of the neighborhood--and one of whom is himself. We meet the many members of this quiet block, where not everything is as perfect as it seems. What really happened to Lindy that night? And is our narrator truly to blame?
I really wanted to like this book, as I'd heard such good things, and was really excited to finally to read it. But honestly, I found it disappointing, tedious, and slow. It was a real let down after all the rave reviews. Our narrator does a good job, I suppose, of highlighting the self-centeredness of teenage boys, but oh my goodness. He talks and talks and talks - endless diatribes about this and that. Pontificates about everything while trying to tell us the meaning of life. I found my eyes glazing over as I skimmed paragraphs, just wanting to find out what happened to poor Lindy, who is basically forgotten in his story -- she's just an object of lust, not a real person.
This book had the potential of being a love story in many ways -- that of the love between a son and his mother, between teenagers, etc., but it just seemed to flounder. Moments of brilliance poked through, but most of the time, I found myself frustrated and wondering what the point was. Instead, it seemed to be a treatise on how boys and men should *not* treat girls and women. It is at it's best when looked at as a story of neighborhood - the sad side story of a neighborhood family will hurt your heart in many ways - but it gets lost in the narrator's endless rants and discussions. At one point, we get a whole chapter on the effects of Hurricane Katrina on Baton Rouge. All well and good, I suppose, except the majority of this book takes place in the late 80s/early 90s. Why are we hearing about something take place decades later?
Overall, I wanted to like this one, and I spotted moments of good peeking out, but I was mostly just frustrated and waiting for it to end. Definitely a disappointment.
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley (thank you!); it is available for purchase everywhere.
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