Donick Walsh: king of the school bullies, secret dancer, closet-case. What’s to be done when a football injury means he can never play again? Dance in the school musical, of course! Not like he has a choice. Fingers crossed his father doesn’t find out!
Enter Michael Penrose: theatre-kid, and Donick’s former best friend. For years Michael has been the object of Donick’s ridicule simply because Michael is out and proud, and Donick is afraid.
When I read Donick Walsh and the Re-Set Button by Nathaniel Shea, I found the story and the characters transformative and sweet. One of the best elements of the novel is that it is authentic and real, the emotions portrayed and the type of behavior from Donick before he realizes he needs to change is believable. This is a story of redemption and love. The path to both can be rocky and difficult and the author does the perfect job of portraying those emotions.
The story is told with a stream of consciousness from both the main characters, Donick and Michael, but in some ways that allows readers to build a tighter emotional connection. You feel what each of the characters feels, both good and bad. I love how the story delves into topical themes, like bullying, homophobia, and abuse, both emotional and verbal. It also deals well with generational beliefs. As characters, Donick’s past behavior is difficult to relate to for those who’ve been bullied but for those, it will be easy to connect to Michael. But I found I loved the transformation and growth in Donick. I also loved how Michael’s feelings evolved and how he began to understand why Donick behaved badly in the past.
Ultimately this is a sweet and beautiful story with the highs and lows of real life. If you love stories of redemption and love, a story that is transformative and sweet, I highly recommend this beautiful story. I love Donick and Michael and truthfully, I would love more from this author about these characters. I feel like there are a few questions left to answer and I’d love to see what happens next.
Rating: 5 out of 5 apologies.