Sara Duff, January 2, 2013 (view all comments by Sara Duff)
I LOVED this book! I was a little skeptical going in that it would be weird just for the sake of being weird, but in the end it was really emotionally satisfying.
kkilburn, January 1, 2013 (view all comments by kkilburn)
At its heart, the book is about love, connection, family, and owning our own flawed-but-true selves. Netzer tells the story primarily through the voices of Sunny Mann and her husband Maxon, with Sunny's mother, Emma, adding important layers to the narrative. All three characters are uniquely imagined, strange on the surface, but immediately recognizable as real: although you may not know anyone who was born bald, as Sunny was, or who won a Nobel Prize, as Maxon has, you do know people like them. You are probably like them yourself. This is just one of the amazing things Netzer accomplishes in this book.
In addition to the characters themselves, I love the way Netzer tells her story. Her narration flows effortlessly between points of view, between past and present, and between interior monologue and action. One result, for me at least, was that I lived each moment with each character, rather than viewing events and characters from the outside. Finally, Netzer's prose style is wonderful. Her writing is very accessible, her imagery vivid and creative, and her comedic timing spot-on. A brilliant debut novel!
B3, August 7, 2012 (view all comments by B3)
SHINE SHINE SHINE may just be my book of the year. Set in a world that is at once expansive and contracting, this book examines identity in love, marriage and parenthood with a lush and fresh perspective. Reader's are led to question what it means to be normal, and left with the distinct feeling that no one really has life figured out. It quickly became unputdownable, and though I was left wondering a bit at the ending, I was left hopeful and wanting more.
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St. Martin's Press -
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"From a distance, Netzer's confident debut is the tale of 'an astronaut lost in space, and the wife he left behind.' At its core, it is the story of the power of love to overcome the great accidents of the universe. Sunny was born totally hairless. Her husband, Maxon, is a rocket scientist, and together they have an autistic son named Bubber. It appears they live a normal suburban life in Virginia — Sunny wears a long blond wig and Bubber is medicated to keep him calm. But after Maxon leaves for a space expedition, a car accident reveals Sunny's hairlessness to her friends and neighbors. Being outed causes Sunny to re-examine her life, and she begins to come to terms with herself as different but special. Meanwhile, Maxon's expedition is jeopardized when a tiny rock 'that had been hiding behind the moon' slams into his spaceship. As he and his crew struggle to survive, and Sunny embraces her family's peculiarities, Netzer deftly illuminates the bonds that transcend shortcomings and tragedy. Characterized by finely textured emotions and dramatic storytelling, Netzer's world will draw readers happily into its orbit. Agent: Caryn Karmatz Rudy, DeFiore and Company. (July)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
by Janet Maslin, The New York Times,
"Over the moon with a metaphysical spin. Heart-tugging...it is struggling to understand the physical realities of life and the nature of what makes us human....Nicely unpredictable....Extraordinary."
by Publisher's Weekly,
"Netzer deftly illuminates the bonds that transcend shortcomings and tragedy. Characterized by finely textured emotions and dramatic storytelling, Netzer's world will draw readers happily into its orbit."
by Sara Gruen, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Water for Elephants and Ape House,
"A funny, compelling love story from the freshest voice I've heard in years. Shine Shine Shine picked me up and left me changed in ways I never expected. Intelligent, emotional, and relentlessly new, Netzer answers questions you didn't know you were already asking and delivers an unforgettable take on what it means to love, to be a mother, and to be human."
by Robert Goolrick, #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Reliable Wife,
"From the icy dead surface of the moon to the hot center of the human heart, Lydia Netzer's debut novel takes you on a rocket ride that will rattle your bones. Part science fiction, part pure magic of the human kind, Netzer makes a book that is wholly her own, and endlessly fascinating. At every turn, you think she cannot astonish you again, and then she does it one more time. And then again and again and again. This is an astounding first novel by a writer who is unique in her immense gifts."
"Creating one of the most compelling protagonists I've read in a long time, Lydia Netzer manages to capture the outsider in each of us. Whether looking at the moon, a child, the suburban landscape, or the face in the mirror, Netzer shows us something we've never seen before, something we thought we knew. A beautifully written story where the exception proves the rule: the things that seem to divide us are, ultimately, the very things that unite us." Brunonia Barry, New York Times bestselling author of The Lace Reader and The Map of True Places.
A debut unlike any other, Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer 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 perfect life for herself and her family in a quiet Virginia town. Even her genius husband, Maxon, an astronaut on his way to the moon, has been trained to pass for normal. But when a fender bender sends her blonde wig flying, her secret is exposed. Not only is she bald, but shes nothing like the Stepford wife she appears to be. As her facade begins to unravel, we discover the singular world of Sunny and Maxon, two outcasts who found unlikely love in one another. Theirs is a wondrous, strange relationship formed of dark secrets, long-forgotten murders and the urgent desire for connection.
But with parenthood came a craving for normalcy that began to strangle their marriage and family. As Sunny and Maxon are on the brink of destruction, at each others throats with blame and fear, Maxon departs for the moon, where hes charged with programming the fledgling colony's robots. And when an accident involving Maxon's rocket threatens everything they've built, revealing the things they've kept hidden, they discover nothing will ever be the same...
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