Every now and then a book comes around that really blows me away and I just can’t stop thinking about it. CLOSE YOUR EYES, HOLD HANDS is one of those books.
Last year I read – and loved – Chris Bohjalian’s THE LIGHT IN THE RUINS. This book is completely different. In this novel, Emily Shepard has survived a nuclear meltdown in the Northeast Kingdom in Vermont and is now a homeless runaway. Emily’s parents worked at the nuclear power plant and people have blamed her father for the accident, so she feels shunned and hunted. Emily survives in an “igloo” of plastic bags and leaves and has a young companion, Cameron, who is also a homeless runaway. Emily gets by using her street smarts, yet she can’t stop thinking about her home, her parents (now dead), and her beloved dog Maggie. She often recites the poems of Emily Dickinson (she’s a big fan) to help calm her mind. Emily’s quest to return home – and into the dead zone – keeps her going in the face of adversity.
I was riveted to this book. I loved the tough yet sensitive character of Emily. Her story was so painful and yet the end had a sense of redemption. Emily was amazingly resourceful and her care for Cameron was genuine and intense. It felt like holding on to Cameron was a lifeline for her.
As someone who doesn’t live far from Vermont, I have to say that this book really got me thinking. It all seemed so plausible and possible. It made for a disturbing yet fascinating read. I won’t tell you where the title is from, but when I read that part of the book, it made me cry.
I really think that Chris Bohjalian is one of the best writers out there today!
So here’s the thing. This book doesn’t release until July, and while I will send an updated reminder about it at that time, I urge you to mark your calendars or pre-order your copy now!
Thank you Net Galley and Doubleday Books for my copy!
Here’s some book trailer awesomeness via You Tube —