... celebrates unlikely heroes ... Over the course of the novel, these characters become genuine role models who contrast with the personalities celebrated by social media ... More than solving societal ills, The Big Door Prize calls attention to the ordinary, hard-won joys of real people. M.O. Walsh’s second novel is a feel-good read in a down-home setting, with serious undertones.
... a big-hearted and magical novel about fate, identity and the loyalties of a small town ... Walsh weaves in several poignant and thought-provoking themes, most obviously the notion of a life’s potential and the power of a second chance --- but, just as masterfully, loyalty to one’s friend, the value of a legacy, and how we can remind those we love that we appreciate them ... Though The Big Door Prize is full of heart and complicated debates, it is every bit as full of humor and small-town hijinks. The cast of characters is as broad as it is varied, and as he did in My Sunrise Away, Walsh proves that he can juggle multiple storylines, perspectives and even ages and genders with a deftness that makes it seem as though he has been writing these books forever ... Walsh writes about the feeling of being wanted and coveted just as beautifully and tenderly as he writes about the opposite side of desire, and the underappreciated feeling of finding your home in another person, even if it is not always fireworks and fireside lovemaking ... Combining the humor and heart of small-town cozy fiction with the poignancy of literary fiction and the drama of domestic suspense, M.O. Walsh proves once again that he is a writer who needs to live on your bookshelves.
... a surprising and heartwarming contemporary drama about looking back and looking forward ... Walsh clearly understands the tendency for middle-aged people to look in the rearview mirror and second-guess their choices ... The adults in this story have been unwilling and unused to contemplating their life choices, and their discomfort, by turns funny and melancholy, will be familiar to many ... readers of this singular, nuanced story will, quite possibly and without a machine as prompt, undertake their own personal reflection.