Monday, July 30, 2012

Book Review: "Shine Shine Shine" by Lydia Netzer

Sunny and Maxon's lives have been intertwined since they met when Maxon was seven and Sunny was six. Both were different, and their relationship always allowed them to be different together. But 20 years later, the two are married and living in Norfolk, Virginia—Maxon is a Nobel Prize-winning scientist working on programming robots to colonize the moon, while Sunny has the perfect housewife role down pat. They've always been able to deal with any troubles that have come their way, although their relationship has been strained of late by the stresses of raising an autistic son, Bubber; the terminal illness of Sunny's mother; Maxon's preparing to travel to the moon to start his robots on their work; and the rapidly arriving delivery of their second child.

But on the same day that Maxon leaves for the moon, things start to go awry, and the perfectly placed world Sunny has always had control over starts shifting. A random car accident reveals Sunny's baldness, which she has hidden from her friends since moving to Virginia, and causes her to re-examine many of the decisions she has made with her life, including keeping Bubber medicated to try and help control his autism. Without even knowing what is happening with the other, both Sunny and Maxon are reflecting on their tumultuous, passionate, and interconnected lives together in an effort to decide what to do next.

In the end, it's amazing how much can change in just one split second. This is a beautifully written book about a dynamic, slightly dysfunctional relationship that grows into a life, and a life that is more chaotic and moves in directions different than one would like. I thought Lydia Netzer did a terrific job in telling Sunny and Maxon's story, and she created some absolutely fantastic, dynamic characters that I'm still thinking about. The narrative structure tends to shift back and forth in time and perspective, which can be a little confusing, but I found myself tremendously invested in this book very quickly. Don't be misled by the description of this book found on most sites, because it makes the book seem much more abstract and weird than it is. Definitely a story worth getting into.

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