... 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 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.
It’s hard to believe that Walsh wrote this moving novel long before the COVID-19 pandemic, for there is eerie prescience in its soulful message that gratitude and grace are not to be taken for granted and that life can be upended in an instant.