Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands


Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian was good, but not as good as I was expecting. The summary on the inside flap of the book immediate piqued my interest. The book on the other hand, took a while to get into and never quite took captured my imagination.

The story centers on Emily, a seventeen year old who has lost both of her parents to the meltdown of a nuclear power plant that has made northern Vermont uninhabitable for the next few centuries. Not only is Emily now an orphan, but she is also the daughter of the man who is blamed for the whole disaster.

Through a series of poor personal choices and unfortunate circumstances, Emily’s life post-disaster unfold. We hear the story through her voice, writing in a journal. Because of this, we are brought to different moments out of chronological order as she remembers events and gets sidetracked.

This structure of moving back and forth through time was surprisingly easy to follow and appealing. What wasn’t appealing was that because the book was entirely in the past, the drama and action never quite came across. I like it when I feel like the story in unfolding in front of me. This didn’t.

Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands was mediocre. It was a decent read, but it is the type of book you’d forget you’ve read a few weeks later. It wasn’t memorable.

Why I picked it up: The summary on the inside flap sounded interesting, and I was excited to find an adult fiction book with a young adult protagonist.

Why I finished it: It was an average book; I paid for it; and I’m WWOOFing in Ireland, so I have a lot of extra time on my hands.

Who I’d recommend it to: While I didn’t mind it, I can’t honestly say I’d recommend it. There are a lot of better books out there, and I hear Chris Bohjalian’s other books are far better than this one. So if this intrigued you, I’d recommend picking up one of his others.


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