Summer Reading Adult Book Review: Shine, Shine, Shine
Book Title: Shine, Shine, Shine
Author: Lydia Netzer
Review: This was a book I would have not chosen if it were not for the “science requirement” of the summer reading program, but it ended up being my favorite read of the summer. The novel tells the story of an unusual family: Sunny, born bald in Burma during a solar eclipse; her husband Maxon, an astronaut and Nobel prize-winning scientist with undiagnosed Asperger’s syndrome; and Bubber their Autistic son. Sunny strives to hide the oddities and quirks that set her family apart from what is “normal.” She wears a wig, medicates her son, and briefs her husband on what to say in normal social settings. Alternating chapters recall her childhood friendship with Maxon, her Mother’s history and current illness, and Maxon’s time in a rocket on a mission to colonize the moon. The novel’s themes--the need to belong, the definition of “normal,” the bonds between parents and children, and the grief of loss--are huge in scope, and the author wisely does not end the book with tidy conclusions, thus leaving open many of the questions that it introduces. This would be a great selection for any book club, as it allows for the discussion of contemporary ethical issues including treatment of Autism and end-of-life care.
Reviewed by: Paula P.
(Note: Adults who participated in Summer Reading and submitted an original review of one of the books they read were entered into a special prize drawing. The winner will be notified soon!)