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Shine, Shine, Shine

by Lydia Netzer

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5396733,154 (3.67)38
When fabricated aspects of their picture-perfect world are embarrassingly exposed by a car accident, Sunny Mann, a woman longing for an ideal life, and Maxon, her savant astronaut husband, struggle through blame and fear before confronting realities about their deep bond.
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» See also 38 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 67 (next | show all)
I couldn't get through it, as I found it too depressing. Moving on... ( )
  heatherdw20 | Jul 23, 2020 |
Fantastic. I rarely read books slowly, but this one I did, over several months. Compelling and beautiful, and actually made me cry. ( )
  liz.mabry | May 13, 2019 |
This unusual novel, Shine, Shine, Shine, features a Nobel-winning scientist, his wife who is torn between her exquisite eccentricity and her desire for normalcy, their brilliant, autistic son, and a baby on the way. The husband Maxon is clearly but cheerfully on the spectrum himself, and is the key to colonizing the moon. Somewhere around 29 years old, he is an artist when it comes to robots, making them able to cry, laugh and dream - and make more robots.

"There are three things robots cannot do: . . . Show preference without reason (LOVE) . . . Doubt rational decisions (REGRET) . . . Trust data from a previously unreliable source (FORGIVE)".

Maxon has preference without reason for childhood friend Sunny, and she reciprocates. There are some concise mathematical analyses of human behavior in the book (created by the author's coder husband and a mathematician friend), as Sunny and her brave mother Emma educate neglected Maxon on how to interface with the world. Maxon is tall, geeky and (to Sunny at least), sexy, and her congenital baldness (reminiscent of movie robots) is part of his overwhelming attraction to her.

Maxon is heading to the moon, with his robots who will build other robots and the foundation for an Earth colony. But something goes awry, and his genius will be needed if he and the crew are even to survive. Meanwhile, Sunny's mother is dying and Sunny is pregnant. Circumstances drive Sunny to rethink the life of normalcy she has created in the hope their son (and impending baby) won't experience the difficulties growing up that she and Maxon did.

In an afterword interview, the author explains, "{A}s a weirdo who is married to a weirdo and parenting two weirdos, I am saddened by our modern need to make sure everyone fits in, and functions smoothly, and checks all the necessary boxes. Some amazing and brilliant people do not, and never will, fit in."

The novel celebrates the beauty and challenges of not fitting in, and reflects on the desire to be normal, and the bravery needed to be just who you are. I loved it. Not quite 5 stars - the structure was a little jumpy for me in places - but close. ( )
4 vote jnwelch | Jul 31, 2018 |
How I adore Sunny and Maxon. They are unusual people trying to make their honest way in a world that puts them at outs with ‘normal’ people. Sunny’s observations are devastating and Maxon’s are robotic and mathematical. They harbor an unconditional love for each other that supercedes all lies, decisions, secrets, and events. I have no doubt that they will make it.

The backstory comes out gradually and not sporadically, with the deep and dark secrets only revealed grudgingly, almost glancingly. Telling it any other way would have given it more importance than it needed, the secrets would have overshadowed what Sunny and Maxon are making of their lives.

How could Rache know anything, when Sunny had been lying to her from the start? But she put that thought in the box, and she closed the box. And the screaming, and the tearing at herself, and the crawling under her bed to wait for death, was packed into the box, and the box was shut, and taped shut, and she would not open the box, or think about the box. p. 187

Every page is lyrical, every page presents things in a new or additional light. Mistakes have been made, lives changed by dramatic decisions, but everything is going to be okay.

I found this book amazingly hopeful in a very crazy world. ( )
1 vote karenmarie | Jul 23, 2018 |
The beginning of the book sounds like things are just too picture perfect and superficial. I stayed with the book, because of the very clever way things are said. I got a lot of chuckles. As the book progresses, the truth unfolds as the main character slowly lets herself see the truth. The story seems very unrealistic, yet the there is reality in the human struggles involved. Love is revealed as a powerful force toward wholeness.

I can't think of another book that I've read which is like this one. I'm sorry that I can't find words to describe it. I listened to the audiobook format which added to that unrealistic flavor, I suppose. I enjoyed the science fiction part of the story, though I would not say that this was a sci-fi book. ( )
  ajlewis2 | Jul 11, 2018 |
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When fabricated aspects of their picture-perfect world are embarrassingly exposed by a car accident, Sunny Mann, a woman longing for an ideal life, and Maxon, her savant astronaut husband, struggle through blame and fear before confronting realities about their deep bond.

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