Saturday, February 23, 2013

Shine Shine Shine

Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer
Audio CD, read by Joshilyn Jackson
Macmillan Audio, July 17, 2012
ISBN-13: 978-1427221391
Hardcover, 320 pages

When Maxon met Sunny, he was seven years, four months, and eighteen-days old. Or, he was 2693 rotations of the earth old. Maxon was different. Sunny was different. They were different together.
Now, twenty years later, they are married, and Sunny wants, more than anything, to be “normal.” She’s got the housewife thing down perfectly, but Maxon, a genius engineer, is on a NASA mission to the moon, programming robots for a new colony. Once they were two outcasts who found unlikely love in each other: a wondrous, strange relationship formed from urgent desire for connection. But now they’re parents to an autistic son. And Sunny is pregnant again. And her mother is dying in the hospital. Their marriage is on the brink of imploding, and they’re at each other’s throats with blame and fear. What exactly has gone wrong?
Sunny wishes Maxon would turn the rocket around and come straight-the-hell home.
When an accident in space puts the mission in peril, everything Sunny and Maxon have built hangs in the balance. Dark secrets, long-forgotten murders, and a blond wig all come tumbling to the light. And nothing will ever be the same.…
A debut of singular power and intelligence, Shine Shine Shine is a unique love story, an adventure between worlds, and a stunning novel of love, death, and what it means to be human.

My Thoughts:
Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer follows the love story of Sunny and Maxon, but it is so much more than just a love story. Sunny was born completely hairless during an eclipse while her family was in Burma. Her missionary father was executed by the Communists and her mother moved back to the States. Sunny and Maxon met as children and knew one thing: that they belonged together. Now married, Maxon is a very successful Nobel-winning autistic NASA scientist who is on a mission to colonize the moon with self-replicating robots. Sunny is his very pregnant wife, left behind on earth with their autistic 4 year-old son, Bubber. In their current suburban life, Maxon's success has afforded them a model house. Sunny wears a variety of blond wigs to hide her baldness and keeps an expensively furnished, immaculate house. It soon becomes clear that Sunny has tried very hard to reinvent herself as the perfect suburban mother, which has put a great deal of self-induced stress on them.
But after Maxon leaves for the moon, Sunny has a car accident that sends her wig flying off in her neighborhood. This exposure of her secret causes Sonny to re-examine her life and the choices she has made in order to fit in and seem "normal."  Then a meteorite hits the space ship Maxon is on, placing the mission and his life in jeopardy. To complicate matters further, Sonny is now feeling contractions, her mother is dying in the hospital, and she's re-examining Bubber's need for medication. Sunny's on-going crisis situation causes her to question if she needs to embrace the idiosyncrasies of her and her family. She soon begins to wonder what makes us human and if such a thing as normal exits. 
In Shine Shine Shine, Lydia Netzer has penned a clever, imaginative novel full of great descriptive language and unique, quirky characters. The language flowed beautifully, as read by Joshilyn Jackson on my audio version.  It has a strong message about accepting the peculiarities and faults of others rather than everyone striving for a Stepford-like conformity. Netzer alternates between the points of view of Maxon and Sunny. She also gives us backstory along with current events to help us better understand these characters and their motives. Sunny is not a perfect character, but that was the point. She tried to put on the facade and be perfect for others. Once her cover was blown, Sunny realizes that she has to accept who she is and who Maxon is and who Bubber is - and that each of them is special and unique.

Very Highly Recommended - one of the best
This was my first audio book. I won the audio version of Shine Shine Shine  from a giveaway on Joshilyn Jackson's website an embarrassingly long time ago. The problem is that I wasn't finding a time to listen to an audio book. My "commute" to work is maybe 5 minutes and I just haven't taken any long car trips. Finally I just had to tell myself to start listening to it while I was doing other things. That worked, but I have to admit that I missed seeing the words in a physical copy of the book. I loved listening to Jackson read the story, however, and I'd like to get an audio CD of one of her books just to hear her read it.

No comments: