Sunday, May 17, 2020

People in the small town of Deerfield, Louisiana are startled one day by a small booth that suddenly appears in the local grocery store in the Big Door Prize.  Upon entering the booth, people were directed to swab their cheek, insert the swab into a slot, and out came a blue paper showing what career they were best suited for, based on their DNA.  Nearly everyone in the town is suddenly gripped by the frenzy of the life that “should have been.”  People who had been going about their daily lives believe totally in the mysterious results and begin planning for new careers as cowboys and musicians.  At the same time, the residents of Deerfield are planning for a big bicentennial celebration but the distraction of potential more exciting lives elsewhere is making it difficult to prepare.

The book mostly centers on two different families:  the Hubbards and the Richieus. Douglas Hubbard is a teacher at the local high school.  His wife Cherilyn spends her days working on crafts and on committees in town.  They didn’t have children and now seem to have reached a crossroads in their relationship (matters not helped by the DNA booth).  Jacob Richieus’s father is the mayor of Deerfield, but the high school junior is socially awkward and has spent his entire life being overshadowed by his more outgoing twin Toby.  After Toby’s recent death in a car accident, his girlfriend Trina begins showing an interest in Jacob.  Is it because she likes him, or that she wants him to be a substitute for Toby?  She soon begins to hint that there is something not quite right with Toby’s accident.

The characters in the book all seem to be going around in a daze.  Once the possibility of a different, more exciting life is dangled in front of people, they begin to live with hope and exhilaration.  Most people experience an “I knew it!” moment when they seen their results, but not everyone is pleased with the results. 

I enjoyed reading the book because I had no idea where it was headed!  The mystery of the DNA booth was intriguing and there is a vague sense of dread over what the teenagers are getting involved in.  It was interesting to read about how quickly people are ready to believe something about themselves without questioning where the information is coming from.  While the DNA booth gave hope to many, it also caused nearly everyone to question the life choices they had made so far. 

I received a copy of the Big Door Prize from the publisher in exchange for this review.


Barbara said...

Hi. I was looking for some bloggers to follow who were interested in sweepstakes and your name popped up. If you are still sweeping I would love to share some contests with you. Also, this book sounds very interesting and it is going on my library reserve list. Hope to hear from you at Barbara

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I'm a librarian who is interested in all things British. I try to visit London as often as possible, and am always planning my next trip. I lived in Sweden for a few years with my Swedish husband, so the occasional Swedish reference may occur . . .

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