Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer: A Brief Thought

From Goodreads: A debut unlike any other, Shine, Shine, Shine is a shocking, searing, breathless love story, a gripping portrait of modern family, and a stunning exploration of love, death and what it means to be human

Sunny Mann has masterminded a life for herself and her family in a quiet Virginia town. Her house and her friends are picture-perfect. Even her genius husband, Maxon, has been trained to pass for normal. But when a fender bender on an average day sends her coiffed blonde wig sailing out the window, her secret is exposed. Not only is she bald, Sunny is nothing like the Stepford wife she’s trying to be. As her facade begins to unravel, we discover the singular world of Sunny, an everywoman searching for the perfect life, and Maxon, an astronaut on his way to colonize the moon.

Theirs is a wondrous, strange relationship formed of dark secrets, decades-old murders and the urgent desire for connection. As children, the bald, temperamental Sunny and the neglected savant Maxon found an unlikely friendship no one else could understand. She taught him to feel—helped him translate his intelligence for numbers into a language of emotion. He saw her spirit where others saw only a freak. As they grew into adults, their profound understanding blossomed into love and marriage.

But with motherhood comes a craving for normalcy that begins to strangle Sunny’s marriage and family. As Sunny and Maxon are on the brink of destruction, at each other’s throats with blame and fear of how they’ve lost their way, Maxon departs for the moon, where he’s charged with programming the robots that will build the fledgling colony. Just as the car accident jars Sunny out of her wig and into an awareness of what she really needs, an accident involving Maxon’s rocket threatens everything they’ve built, revealing the things they’ve kept hidden. And nothing will ever be the same.

I’m working on this book right now, and by working on it, I mean a slow demolition. No wrecking ball that wipes a book out in a day or two. Getting through Shine Shine Shine is going to be like building a highway through Appalachian granite: slow, meticulous, breaking away little chunks at a time. I think the reason for my sluggish progress is because it’s not plot driven. I can read a book that’s not all plot and enjoy it, I swear, but it takes a little more dedication on my part. It requires more concentration, too. I can’t simultaneously read this book and watch T.V. or have a conversation with husband like I can with a Charlane Harris book, for example. So far (I’m about halfway through) I’m still waiting for the dark secrets, decades-old murders and the accident involving Maxon’s rocket. Halfway through and still waiting for plot. Halfway through and Sunny has had her car wreck and her wig has flown off, and that’s about it. So, what has getting through this much of the book given me? An excellent character study—although I don’t really like Sunny and I wonder if I’m supposed to. It’s given me a lot of pretty pretty, semi-poetic prose. It’s given me some funny imagery such as Sunny moving her stick-on eyebrow higher on her forehead to insinuate an ironic look. I’m holding out hope that this one of those books where I’ll say, “The beginning was a little slow, but…”

I’ll keep reading, and I’ll let you know.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Elizabeth
    Aug 13, 2012 @ 19:11:51

    From that premise, I’d expect the book to be a whirlwind of action. I hope it picks up for you!


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