When I read pyrajane’s review last December I knew I had to read this book. I was not disappointed.
The details in Shine Shine Shine are the making of this novel. Lydia Netzer makes several conscious choices as an author which allow for a type of story we’ve heard a hundred times seem fresh and new by changing the angles through which we view it. At the epicenter of the story are Sunny and Maxon. 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. And they were different together. This pair is the great love in the novel, and they are also the center of its dysfunction.
By eliminating possessive pronouns throughout much of the narrative Netzer keeps the reader on their toes. I was immediately intrigued and put completely off-balance throughout the first half of the novel. There is a bit of many genres flitting in and out. It’s the story of a family, it’s the story of a child with autism, it’s the story of damaged adults, it’s the story of birth and death, and it’s a story about robots colonizing the moon.
I’m intentionally leaving out lots of detail about the story, not because it’s unimportant, but because I want you to discover the details for yourself. Be warned that it may be a very slow start, but it picks up. Be prepared to dislike at least one character at any given time, but also know that your opinion may change as you move farther into the plot. This is the story of the things we do to protect what we love, even when we don’t understand the choices.
“Sometimes it comes to that desperate state, when you have to cling to each other and be alone. When no one else can truly matter. She thought, Ours is one of the epic loves of our generation. Possibly of all time. Who cares if no one sees it, walking by? This story is a love song. Who cares if history won’t remember?” (195).
I give this one a 3.5, it would have been a four if it had picked up sooner.