Shine Shine Shine: Book summary and reviews of Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer

Shine Shine Shine

A Novel

by Lydia Netzer

Shine Shine Shine
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  • Published in USA  Jul 2012
    320 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

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 she's nothing like the Stepford wife she appears to be. As her façade 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 other's throats with blame and fear, Maxon departs for the moon, where he's 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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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Characterized by finely textured emotions and dramatic storytelling, Netzer's world will draw readers happily into its orbit." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. Netzer has beautifully crafted an original story with a cast of characters who make up an unconventional but strangely believable family. After all, it is the oddities that make us all human. Readers will laugh, cry, and, ultimately, cheer for Sunny and her husband as their love story plays out from the past to the future. This story will shine, shine, shine for all adult readers." - Library Journal

"Talky uplift and a self-congratulatory tone bog down the novel, but through compelling characters, Netzer raises a provocative question: Is autism a disability, a gift or the norm of the future?" - Kirkus Reviews

"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." - Sara Gruen, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Water for Elephants and Ape House

"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 perfectly structured gem of a book that held me spellbound as I unraveled the twisted histories of this unconventional family. You've never read anything like it, and yet Sunny's story is every woman's story. We are all outsiders, all alone in space, all trying so hard to find a place called home. I loved this book." - Joshilyn Jackson, New York Times bestselling author of Gods in Alabama and Backseat Saints

"An astronaut, an autistic child, a bald woman and a meteor collide, churning up the ground around a couple of decades-old murders. Life and death intersect in this wildly inventive love story I will be talking about and thinking about for years to come. If Yann Martel and Mary Gaitskill had a literary baby, it would look a lot like Lydia Netzer." - Karen Abbott, New York Times bestselling author of Sin in the Second City and American Rose

The information about Shine Shine Shine shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Reader Reviews

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Bob S. (Lawrenceburg, IN)

We all arrive oddly
Lydia Nester's first book is striking and endearing. I found her celebration of the oddities of her protagonists a reminder that we are each of us unique, never repeatable, and ineffably singular. Sunny and Maxon are notably ill-suited for the cultural expectations around them. But is it not true that in our attempts to meet our society's norms, we lose touch with the authentic integrity which which each of us arrives. Brava, Lydia.

Carm D. (Omaha, NE)

Shine Shine Shine
I highly recommend this book. It takes a few chapters to settle into this unusual love story, but believe me, you will be rewarded. It is a tale where being different is the norm. I love brave bald Sunny, her autistic son Bubber, her astronaut husband Maxim who also shows signs of autism. Sounds odd doesn't it? Well it works! You will be so glad that you were allowed into the lives of these extraordinary people. I for one cannot wait for more from Ms Netzer.

Marta M. (Santa Ana, CA)

Shining on what is normal
I enjoyed this book very much. It took me a few chapters to understand the characters. It is about a family full of very unusual people. Maxon is autistic and speaks in the language of numbers. Sunny was born bald without a hair on her body. They find each other and what develops is a wonderful love story. As the couple try to find their way through life, Sunny craves normalacy and what she finds when she finally opens her eyes is that nothing is normal. To be yourself is the best the best you can be. I highly recommend this book.

Sherrill B. (Columbia City, In.)

shine shine shine
this is different from any book have read.for review. at first I thought what is this? But as I got more into it I discovered it could be very much today's society, the husband going off into space thinking he could benefit mankind, the wife not understanding and thinking she needs him at hone to help take care of things there, and protect her since she had a few social issues including baldness and an autistic child - and one one the way. Maxon, her husband, is a strong person having endured many beatings as a child from his drunken father. This makes him able to endure it when things went wrong in the space capsule. He could endure physical and mental stress. I would recommend this book to book clubs as it is something different than normal reading and very interesting.

Viqui G. (State College, PA)

A Shining Novel
This novel is a totally engaging story. I fell in love with Sunny, the main character. She is an altogether believable woman with a complex past and unusual current dilemas. She and her husband Maxon are true soul mates and they have a very unique relationship. But as we meet Sunny, she is going through a rough spell; she is in her late pregnancy and has a challenging 4 year old and a very ill mother. One of the themes of Shine Shine Shine is of "fitting in" socially and what this means for different characters. Another major theme involves the ultimate acceptance of human imperfections, both personal and of others. I strongly recommend this novel. It is very well written with an strong narrative and engrossing story.

Shelby L. (Hamden, CT)

Touching and tender read
When all about you is not "normal"...how do you "fit in".

This is the story of Sunny, a woman born without any hair, her husband Maxon, an abandoned boy who grows up to be a savant genius and their son Bubber, who is autistic. It would appear that all is against them yet Sunny's deep love, understanding and compassion which she learned from her mother Emma, keeps them welded to each other.

The story is at times funny, heartwarming and suspenseful. I don't want to reveal any of the plot except to say that Maxon plans to colonize the moon with robots...a little out there for a love story.

Lydia Netzer has written a smart, imaginative book. I don't ever remember reading anything like it although there were moments that works of John Irving came to mind.

I highly recommend it.

...10 more reader reviews

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Author Information

Lydia Netzer Author Biography

Photo: Katie Weeks Photography

Lydia Netzer was born in Detroit and educated in the Midwest. She lives in Virginia with her two home-schooled children and mathmaking husband. When she isn’t working as a book doctor, blogging, or drafting her second novel, she writes songs and plays guitar in a rock band.

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