Minny’s life, like that of many young people today, is busy and complex. She lives with her mum, sisters and baby brother, and since her dad left five years ago they’ve all been sharing her granny’s house. It’s crowded, and when her granny’s new boyfriend arrives on the scene feels even more so. School offers little peace: Minny’s best friend Penny is also preoccupied with a new boyfriend, and Minny has to keep an eye out for her big sister Aisling, who has autism and is a target for bullies. When their dad suddenly reappears, with a new partner and a baby on the way, Minny struggles to overcome her intense feelings of resentment, especially when he compounds her sense of betrayal in a painful and particularly personal way.
If this plot summary makes Too Close to Home sound gloomy or depressing, it’s anything but. Minny is as lively and interesting a central character as you’ll read about and Walsh describes her home and school life with a vivid warmth and sensitivity that bring Hilary McKay’s books to mind – high praise indeed. There’s lots of humour, the kind that derives from character and situation, and real drama too as Minny
finally buckles under the pressures inadvertently loaded on her by the different members of her family. Readers will understand Minny’s situation and response to it exactly, and identify fully with her frustrations. This is an excellent addition to the canon of first class family dramas.