My Sunshine Away by M. O. Walsh
At the heart of the book is a brutal crime – Lindy Simpson, a young teenager, is raped on her way home from running practice and her Baton Rouge neighborhood is never the same. It is 1989, a time prior to cell phones and the internet, where communication between teens is done late at night in whispered phone conversations, in the halls in school and in backyards while hanging out. But Lindy’s secret gets out and the narrator, a young boy, a neighbor, slightly younger than Lindy, is the one to do it. He spends what is left of his childhood and his teenage years falling in love with Lindy and trying to figure out who hurt her.
Jeffrey Dahmer was discovered to be the monster he was only two years after Lindy Simpson’s rape and his presence as a news story prepares the reader for darkness to slowly envelop the neighborhood. Yet there is light in the darkness. There are friendships, and first loves and tender moments. There is also death, and abuse and tragedy which no character in the book escapes. But do any of us escape tragedy? I will admit it does seem that a lot of horrible things happen in this neighborhood, and those acquainted with our narrator, probably more than the average person. The story is told by the narrator as an adult and at the end we get to see what has become of the character’s lives and most of them are happy and doing well. Most importantly, in my mind at least, we eventually find out what happened to Lindy.
I recommend it on audio – the reader is extremely good and really brings you into the story. Not light fare, but an interesting look at childhood and how an awful crime can affect so many people, not just the victim.