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books and reading

My Sunshine Away

Thanks to Netgalley for this book. Sorry it took me awhile to get to it. I “lost” it on my Kindle and just found it!

Because I requested this book so long ago, I have no idea what made me select it in the first place. And honestly, when I started reading, I didn’t read the blurb, so I didn’t know what it was about at all. What I discovered was a beautiful little gem of a coming of age story.

From Goodreads:

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 book starts (no spoiler because it’s truly the beginning of the book) with a neighborhood girl being raped near her house. The fallout of the crime is profound on everyone on the street. The unnamed narrator is in love with this girl. He has been for years. But as he begins to understand what happened to the girl his view of her changes as she evolves, trying to deal with the trauma.

The prose of this book is gorgeous. There are sections about the city of Baton Rouge with no tie to the plot. So, not only is it a story of this one street, it’s also a love letter to the author’s hometown. My guess is that I selected this book thinking it was some kind of thriller. It’s not at all, but what I discovered was even better. I really loved this book.