Author: Lisa O’Donnell
After The Death of Bees we asked, “Can she do it again?” Well, the amazing answer is Lisa O’Donnell has done it better. Closed Doors announces Lisa’s talent loud and clear, and her eleven year old protagonist, Michael Murray, puts his heart on the line and pulls us in like a Marlin. Tremendously talented, Ms. O’Donnell creates her own legacy with poignant prose – but her true talent is in creating a family full of the real dynamics of “just them.” They arise, alive and dysfunctional, functional and loving, fearful and hopeful, and all from the perspective of precocious Michael Murray.
Michael and his family live in a small isolated coastal city in Scotland, where everyone knows everyone’s business and the biggest pastime is gossiping for the women, and trying to stay sane with no job for the men. Michael’s father is on the dole along with most of the other men, and his mother works. Dad’s mother, Michael’s grandmother, lives with them and mostly Ma and Granny talk about the neighbors while Michael listens in behind closed doors.
When his mother is raped and beaten, the family closes itself off and his mother will not allow anyone to talk about the rapist or the raping. His father is blamed by the neighbors of wife beating, and his mother falls into herself. Michael saves himself by playing with his strange group of friends, Dirty Alice, Paul, Luke, Marianne who are all trying to deal with life in the town also. Mrs. Connor is Alice and Luke’s mother and she ends up marrying Marianne’s father, and only O’Donnell can describe how the town changes its gossip: single, Mrs. Connor was a slut; married she is the dear woman she always has been. Alice and Luke are clean and presentable now, and yet Michael both hates and loves Alice.
As the novel takes off with the tragedy affecting the entire community as well as Michael and his family, O’Donnell creates a drama that is emotionally perfect, with every nuance pitch perfect. A writer who is quickly becoming one of our best talents, Closed Doors is not to be missed.
Ratings are based on a 5-star scale
Review by Broad “A” – Ava
We received a copy of this title for our book review. All opinions are our own
Closed Doors is available on Amazon.com and booksellers nationwide