The big door prize : a novel

by Walsh, M. O.

Format: Print Book 2020
Availability: Available at 8 Libraries 8 of 24 copies
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Summary
The New York Times bestselling author of My Sunshine Away returns with another instant Southern classic: a gripping and heartfelt novel about a mysterious machine that upends a small Louisiana town, asking us all to wonder if who we truly are is who we truly could be.

What would you do if you knew your life's potential? That's the question facing the residents of Deerfield, Louisiana, when the DNAMIX machine appears in their local grocery store. It's nothing to look at, really--it resembles a plain photo booth. But its promise is amazing: With just a quick swab of your cheek and two dollars, the device claims to use the science of DNA to tell you your life's potential. With enough credibility to make the townspeople curious, soon the former teachers, nurses, and shopkeepers of Deerfield are abruptly changing course to pursue their destinies as magicians, cowboys, and athletes--including the novel's main characters, Douglas Hubbard and his wife, Cherilyn, who both believed they were perfectly happy until they realized they could dream for more...

Written with linguistic grace and a sense of wonder, The Big Door Prize sparkles with keen observations about what it might mean to stay true to oneself while honoring the bonds of marriage, friendship, and community, and how the glimmer of possibility can pull these bonds apart, bring them back together, and make second chances possible, even under the strangest of circumstances.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "The residents of Deerfield, Louisiana, were happily going about their days until an odd little machine called the DNAMIX appeared at Johnson's Grocery. Looking like a pared-down version of a photo booth, the contraption nevertheless had transformative powers. For $2 and a cheek swab, wishful thinkers learned their true life calling. That's how Cherilyn Hubbard discovered she was destined to be royalty, not the stay-at-home, Etsy-crafting wife of the high-school history teacher. Her husband, Douglas, is openly disdainful of such whimsy, distracted by a potential career change of his own making. Likewise, his student, Jacob, also has no desire to further alter his life after his twin brother, Toby, died in a drunk-driving accident. But Toby's ex-girlfriend, Trina, is trying to involve Jacob in a revenge plot against the classmates who were with Toby when he died. As each character comes to recognize the satisfaction of living in the moment, Jacob sagely realizes that "everyone on this planet is just one stranger's decision away from eternity." It's hard to believe that Walsh (My Sunshine Away, 2015) wrote this moving novel long before the COVID-19 pandemic, for there is eerie prescience in its soulful message that gratitude and grace are not to be taken for granted and that life can be upended in an instant."
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Walsh (My Sunshine Away) skirts the edge of fantasy in this playful and touching tale set in small-town Deerfield, La. After a mysterious, photo booth--size machine called the DNAMIX appears at the town's grocery store, word of its supposed powers of prognostication spreads rapidly. Customers are instructed to swab the inside of their cheek, and a readout will appear telling them what "your body and mind are capable of doing." Many of the townspeople indulge, including high school history teacher and aspiring trombonist Douglas and his wistful homemaker wife, Cherilyn. Meanwhile, introverted 16-year-old Jacob, recovering from the recent death of his twin brother, Toby, in a car accident, is manipulated by Toby's ex-girlfriend Trina, who blames the whole school for Toby's death and wants revenge. As Jacob worries he'll be roped into Trina's violent revenge plan, Douglas and Cherilyn's "happy and uncomplicated marriage" begins to fall apart after Douglas, whose DNAMIX readout offers no surprises ("Whistler. Teacher") discovers Cherilyn's, which indicates her "life station" will be "royalty." Walsh follows these characters with humor and compassion, leading them to an ending readers will find surprising and satisfying. The novel transcends its quirky premise, offering many insights on the mysteries of the human heart. Agent: Renee Zuckerbrot, Massie & McQuilkin Literary. (Sept.)"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Fortune-telling -- Fiction.
DNA -- Analysis -- Fiction.
Life change events -- Fiction.
City and town life -- Fiction.
Interpersonal relations -- Fiction.
Louisiana -- Fiction.
Domestic fiction.
Humorous fiction.
Publisher New York :2020
Language English
Description 370 pages ; 24 cm
ISBN 9780735218482
073521848X
Other Classic View