Book 51 of my 2015 Reading Challenge
read from August 4 - 10
read from August 4 - 10
My Sunshine Away by M.O. Walsh
Summary (via the book jacket)
My Sunshine Away unfolds in a Baton Rouge neighborhood best known for cookouts on sweltering summer afternoons, cauldrons of spicy crawfish and vats of cold beer, glorious crepe myrtle blossoms 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 - is attacked at night near her home, it becomes apparent that this idyllic stretch of suburban Baton Rouge has a dark side, too.
For such a small, close-knit neighborhood, the suspects are numerous. Among them are Bo Kerns, the menacing figure who's lurked about since finishing high school; Jason Landry, the delinquent from a few doors down; Jason's adoptive father, Jacques, a furtive psychiatrist; and even the teenage boy across the street, our narrator, whose obsessive infatuation with Lindy lands him on the list. It is through his eyes, now many years later, that we see how a life can be irreversibly transformed by heartbreak, by guilt, and by love.
My Sunshine Away juxtaposes the enchantment of a Louisiana childhood with the gripping story of a violent crime, unraveling families, and consuming adolescent love. In hauntingly beautiful prose, M.O. Walsh examines how the moments from our past that affect us most profoundly as adults are often not the ones we expect. They can be as surprising and intricate as the secrets we keep hidden from our friends and families, and even ourselves. Acutely wise and deeply honest, this is an astonishing debut about the meaning of family, the power of memory, and our ability to forgive.
Unreliable narrators make the read even eerier but also adds a closeness to the story. Having more from the victim's point of view meant I didn't read this as a "whodunit" but more as a look at what happens in the aftermath of a crime.
It was very poetic and that took it beyond a standard suspense novel. It's way too much of a spoiler to quote but there was a beautiful section toward the end about the purpose of memories.
A Few Quotes from the Book
"Perhaps growing wings is what fathers do.
Maybe it is written somewhere that, at an undetermined time, every father will feel an ache in his back. He will sleep uncomfortably, tossing around in bedsheets that used to feel warm to him and soft. He will spend his private time craning his neck toward the mirror, trying to catch a glimpse of what's been itching him lately, perhaps only two small nubs at first, right on his shoulder blades, and later the look of two feathered joints. I can't imagine the fear in these men. I can only imagine their choice. A creature with wings must use them, of course, or else go the way of the dodo.
So these men finish up that last cup of coffee. They wait until no one is watching.
They take to the sky."
"Once the trust is gone, you know, all of history changes. A person doesn't know what to believe."