Cyndy Aleo's Reviews > Shine Shine Shine

Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer
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's review
May 31, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: arc, netgalley, literary-fiction
Read from May 31 to June 06, 2012

I finished my advance copy (received through NetGalley) of Lydia Netzer's Shine Shine Shine days ago, and thought having a few days to process it would help me compose a coherent review.

I'm not sure it will have helped.

On the surface, the book is about Sunny and her astronaut husband, Maxon. Told through a storyline that moves back and forth between present and past, we learn that pregnant Sunny is married to civilian astronaut and robot expert Maxon, a Nobel prize winner. They are parents to an autistic son, Bubber; Sunny was born completely bald and wears a wig; and her mother is dying of cancer.

Sunny views these things as somewhat bad; she wants to fit in, be liked, and have a perfect life, as per the definition of perfect she has in her head. Maxon, her baldness, and Bubber don't fit in with that vision. Maxon is eccentric, possibly on the autism spectrum himself, and can't seem to please Sunny. With him in space, however, Sunny is left home and starting with a crack in her kitchen wall, everything begins to go wrong at once, and she's forced to evaluate what she really wants out of life and whether her ideals are really as perfect as she's made them out to be.

Netzer's voice is unique, and I'll be honest in admitting that I was afraid at first that I was going to hate the book and not finish it. It's not an easy, friend-like voice, and Maxon's social interactions are often boiled down to empirical formulae, which all but the true nerds may find confusing (I laughed at many of them). Sunny's initial descriptions of Bubber's autism are also off-putting, and I had to force myself past those sections of the book by reminding myself it was the character and not the author (I hoped). In the end, while I loved the book and what I took away as its ultimate message, I was at a loss as to whom I'd recommend it. Shine Shine Shine was such an individual experience for me that I wasn't sure how many would "get" it beyond those of my friends who already had it on the to-be-read lists. I fear it may be one of those books that people either love or hate, but have no mediocre responses to.
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Reading Progress

06/01/2012 page 118
06/06/2012 page 271
85.0% ""This is what it means to die: You do not finish.""
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