Imatge de l'autor

M.O. Walsh

Autor/a de My Sunshine Away

3+ obres 769 Membres 55 Ressenyes

Sobre l'autor

Inclou el nom: Milton O’neal Walsh

Crèdit de la imatge: Photo by Doug McLain

Obres de M.O. Walsh

My Sunshine Away (2015) 652 exemplars
The Big Door Prize (2020) 109 exemplars
The Prospect of Magic (2010) 8 exemplars

Obres associades

Stories from the Blue Moon Café IV (2005) — Col·laborador — 15 exemplars
Not Just Rockets and Robots: Daily Science Fiction Year One (2012) — Col·laborador — 12 exemplars


Coneixement comú



This was an uneven read for me. It started off really well but flagged in the middle for 100+ pages. As the ending neared, it gained some momentum, and I finished it mostly feeling satisfied.

It's the story of neighbors, community, and growing up in a neighborhood rocked by a violent attack on a teenaged girl. The narrator is a boy a year or so younger than the victim and fancies himself in love with her. There is a lot of reflection on memory and perspective, and some of the writing is beautiful. I spent much of the book finding the narrator unlikeable, and he is clearly set up as unreliable. There is a lot of adolescent lust and obsession which wasn't very interesting (also, a weird, random chapter about Baton Rouge and Hurricane Katrina evacuees that seemed like no more than filler...).

I initially rated this 4 stars, but that seems overly generous now, so I'm knocking it down a bit.

3.75 stars
… (més)
katiekrug | Hi ha 50 ressenyes més | Nov 10, 2023 |
This is a fantastic premise in search of a far better novel.

I bought this book because I was so intrigued by the first two episodes of the new TV series based on it. The premise: a small American town, set in its quiet little ways, is shaken up by the mysterious arrival of a machine that claims to tell people their "potential." Folks line up to go in the little booth, give their information, and receive a little blue card with a single word on it, like Hero or Carpenter or Magician. One local teacher, having just turned 40, is crushed by the "potential" he receives: Teacher/Whistler. It takes him over the edge into a mid-life crisis - why is everyone losing their minds over this thing? Why is his wife acting so strange? And doesn't he have more potential, anyway?

To me, this is a classic Twilight Zone premise, worthy of Rod Serling or Richard Matheson. (I'm sure others will see hints of Stephen King here, or even the Tom Hanks movie Big.) The original 1960s series was full of episodes where a sudden, supernatural or pseudo-magical catalyst forced characters to re-evaluate their lives. Most of the time, a Twilight Zone would set this kind of idea off like a snowball down a hill, gathering speed and mass until it became a crisis by the end of the episode. Sometimes, the crisis would end in a narrow escape; sometimes, the characters had to learn their lessons the hard way.

I like this kind of thing, so I bought the book to see which it was going to be.

What I learned very quickly is that the producers of the TV series bought the rights to the book for the premise and (I suspect) not much else. The character names have all been changed, although they mostly have the same relationships and you can compare like-to-like between versions quite easily. Far more important is the change in the general tone. The TV series has quirky, funny moments, but it also has a vein of genuine melancholy running through it. M.O. Walsh's novel, on the other hand, is - dare I say it - a bit breezy.

At first, I thought he, too, was trying to present the characters quirkily. He spends an awful lot of time in each of several characters' heads, but weirdly, you don't seem to get to know most of them any better than you did at the beginning. They don't shift or change or have conflicting emotions. Instead, they seem to have two modes: love and deep empathy, and a sudden, almost child-like hope about the future. Indeed, some of them start to demonstrate a grandiosity that, as I was reading, I anticipated would be punctured like a balloon.

I found the book easy to read, but as I was going along, I questioned what the author was doing. I kept wondering why, although Walsh occasionally tossed out a high high for a character to experience, I wasn't getting any texture from low lows. By only ever allowing his characters to fleetingly question their own judgment, Walsh made them look, in many cases, quite willfully naïve. I kept making excuses for that in my mind, thinking he was setting them up to take a big fall, a big, dark, climax that would show them all up for the rather smug fools they'd been.

That never happened, except in perhaps the most anticlimactic way possible. In fact, the few small moments of darkness are swept up almost as soon as they're introduced. The entire final third of the book never really lands because there isn't a true climax: things appear to be getting worse - but then they're okay. Somehow. Magically. Because of love.

As for the machine that tells people's potential, it almost completely vanishes over the second half of the book, only briefly reemerging at the very end. And that's fine - a catalyst is a catalyst for a reason, and I never really expected to learn what it "meant" or why it was even there in the first place. However, I did expect its influence to keep motivating the story, and at some point, that simply stopped happening. It's as if it just blew away in the breeze.

I can't in good conscience recommend this book unless you like a read that is so cozy it almost feels saccharine. What's so strange to me is that there is plenty of implied content in this book that is neither cozy nor saccharine, but it all just gets glossed over and swept away in favor of slightly smug, cutesy warm feelings. In another novel, a little unrealistic warmth might feel like relief after a look at what pain and loss can allow people to believe. Here, that simply isn't earned, because the author barely scratched the surface.
… (més)
saroz | Hi ha 3 ressenyes més | Sep 16, 2023 |
My Sunshine Away by M.O. Walsh is a haunting yet beautiful tale about a tragic childhood.

This book has blown me away with how thought provoking it is! M.O. Walsh's beautiful writing style tells the tale of fifteen year old Lindy (in our narrator's point of view) and the horrors that occur in their neighborhood. Add in the setting of Baton Rouge, Louisiana in the late 80s and you've got yourself the perfect coming of age story addressing some really tough issues that we are still seeing today.

This is another book that I wish would have been around in my high school years. I think this would have been perfect reading material that addresses the growth and change of a child to an adult, and the big issues in society that are still happening. M.O. Walsh made the story light hearted and fun (at times) in a setting that could have been extremely brutal.

As the book moves forward, the effects on the town and Lindy slowly unravel and the mystery of it all falls into place. The ghosts of everyone's past comes to a nice close at the end of the book, so don't worry about cliffhangers! The last few pages of the book are the perfect summary, better than anything I've ever seen before. It's a real shame I don't see this book (or eventually more) by M.O. Walsh on bookshelves at my local bookstore. This book is top tier writing!

My Sunshine Away had effects on me similar to 1984, To Kill a MockingBird and Shakespeare's best works. The book tells a story and a narrative, but has grande themes that can be picked apart. On top of that, the book feels nostalgic of what most adults had in their childhood (I can relate to talking on the phone when your parents answer it and hold it for you). The surprise of a safe neighborhood not really being all that safe. Also seeing some of the non-fictitious aspects of our world (like the Challenger and Jeffrey Dahmer) really made this book feel real.

The characters also felt like people I would have known in my childhood - nerdy kids, the "weirdos", that one girl everyone loves - they all were relatable. Seeing them change and how they ended up in adulthood was also a nice touch that helped close the story.

When I read this book, I thought it was a very soft adult novel - but apparently it's a Young Adult novel! It's a really nice read that Young Adults could handle. It has some tough themes, but nothing graphic. I'm actually even happier that this book should be on a Young Adult shelf, so those readers can get the impact of this story in their environment.

Overall, this book is an emotional, yet melancholic ride that will pull at your heartstrings and play with your emotions. It's so well developed, it's hard to believe that this is a debut novel! It feels like an expert in his craft wrote it! I highly recommend this book, and it's a definite must read! I'm sad I didn't pick this book up years ago! What a truly fantastic novel!

PS - What a stunning cover! This cover calls out to me, even though it's so simple yet so elegant! What a gem!

Five out of five stars!

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.
… (més)
Briars_Reviews | Hi ha 50 ressenyes més | Aug 4, 2023 |
A coming of age story that strips away the narrators innocence of growing up in a quiet suburb of Baton Rouge. I look forward to the authors next book.
zmagic69 | Hi ha 50 ressenyes més | Mar 31, 2023 |



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