My Sunshine Away by M.O.Walsh

my sunshine awayMy Sunshine Away by M.O.Walsh tells the story of Lindy, a 15 year old teenager that was raped in the quiet neighbourhood of Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1989. The unnamed narrator, a 14 year old, has been a suspect of the crime himself.  Being in love with Lindy, the crime against the girl he likes haunts him and he therefore gets involved in trying to find out who did it, since the police doesn’t seem to have any leads or evidence or are able to solve the crime themselves.

Told in hindsight, My Sunshine Away is a coming of age story. A story of first love, growing up and being hurt. Of two teenagers that are forced to grow up too soon. With Lindy being raped, her innocence snatched away from her and having to live without knowing who did it to her and the unnamed narrator who had to deal with the rape of the girl he likes, being a suspect and not having the support structure in place with his parents being divorced and him not getting the attention and love he craves from his father.

The story also has hints of nostalgia with references to Hurricane Katrina and the devastation it left behind, but also the story of Jeffrey Dahmer and his arrest.  The latter I had very little knowledge of, not being an American, so I read up about the murderer.

The novel itself is one of those mystery novels that you can’t put down, because you want to know what happens and who did it. The writing style is written in a conversational tone and is very engaging. The suspenseful atmosphere of the novel kept me turning the pages and the narrator made me think back various times of my teenage years and how I experience the emotions of first love. It also made me think of how I would have dealt with rape, being that young. Would I also act out like Lindy did?

So many people have raved about this novel and I can understand why, but I also feel the strength of the novel lies in the full story – from beginning to end. If you’re reading the story as purely a mystery, waiting for the big reveal at the end of whodunit, you might be disappointed. My Sunshine Away is the type of novel that has to be savoured for not only a mystery, but for everything else it is: a tale of loss, love and growing up.

Tell me bookworms, have you read this one and did you like it?

Image source