Be omnivorous, don't just read one kind of book, read everything. - Richard Wagamese

Monday, August 11, 2014

Review: Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian

Publisher: Doubleday
Pages: 288
Released: 2014
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5/5


Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands will break your heart and will undoubtedly move you. Once you pick the book up, it's almost impossible to put it down. If you do, you certain do so begrudgingly. Readers are introduced to Emily Shepard, a homeless 16 year-old girl who has built an igloo with snow and trash bags. She's had to build a new identity, steal, and move on with her life the only way she knows how. Accompanying her is a little boy named Cameron, and Emily wants to protect him at all costs. Nearly a year ago, a nuclear explosion at their local power plant melted down and wiped out a large radius. Her parents both worked at the plant; her father was in charge, and her mother head of the PR department. Neither one survived, and Emily is all alone. She cannot stand to hear everyone blaming her parents, and she fears they will continue to take it out on her. When the plant initially melted down, no one held back on their thoughts about her parents. As a result Emily had to change her identity.

The narration skips around, and we learn what Emily's life was prior to the meltdown. Her parents weren't Saints, and both hated living in Vermont. They drank a lot, fought a lot, but both loved Emily. Emily was your typical teenager, going to an elite prep school and found herself getting into trouble from time to time. She rebelled, didn't live up to her potential as a student, but was a fairly good kid who loves Emily Dickenson. Sadly, coping with her new life on the streets includes stealing, resorting to prostitution from time to time, and she becomes a cutter.

I haven't read many of Chris Bohjalian's books but of the two I've read, I've loved them both. Midwives was a great read, and Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands is now one of my favorite reads. Emily narrates the story, and she takes readers on a heartbreaking journey. Bohjalian captures the raw emotion, and the desperation of a teenage girl living on the streets with no where to go. "Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands" is such a powerful statement when mentioned in the book, and it will remain with you. I highly recommend this one. I can go on and on about how powerful this book it, but you should really read it for yourself.


  1. I listened to this book and liked it a lot but don't think I liked it as much as you did. I wonder if it's better in print.

  2. Awesome review. This isn't one I normally would look at, but your review has me reconsidering that decision.