Closed Doors by Lisa o’Donnel
A powerful tale of love, the loss of innocence and the importance of family in difficult times by the acclaimed author of The Death of Bees, winner of the Commonwealth Book Prize 2013
‘There are no strangers in Rothesay, Michael. Everyone knows who you are and always will. It’s a blessing but it’s also a curse.’
Eleven-year-old Michael Murray is the best at two things: keepy-uppies and keeping secrets. His family think he’s too young to hear grown-up stuff, but he listens at doors; it’s the only way to find out anything. And Michael’s heard a secret, one that might explain the bruises on his mother’s face.
When the whispers at home and on the street become too loud to ignore, Michael begins to wonder if there is an even bigger secret he doesn’t know about. Scared of what might happen if anyone finds out, and desperate for life to return to normal, Michael sets out to piece together the truth. But he also has to prepare for the upcoming talent show, keep an eye out for Dirty Alice, his arch-nemesis from down the street, and avoid eating Granny’s watery stew.
Closed Doors is the startling new novel from the acclaimed author of The Death of Bees. It is a vivid evocation of the fears and freedoms of childhood in the 1980s and a powerful tale of love, the loss of innocence and the importance of family in difficult times.
Eleven year old Micheal listens at doors, piecing together the parts of the story he is deemed too young to hear. Told in Micheal’s innocent, sometimes naive, voice this book is both heart-wrenching and funny.
I must admit I had doubts when I started reading. Could this authentic eleven year-old voice do the story justice? It turns out it could and rather than detract from it, it actually enhanced the story. Micheal’s child like innocence as he tries to make sense of the world around him and the turmoil that was unfolding behind closed doors added to the power, something few child narrated books manage to do.
I received an advanced reader copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.