I first reviewed Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer last year, when we were lucky enough to receive a copy of the proof – as you can see from my review below I really enjoyed the book and Lydia’s originally – unique? – writing style. Coming back to the book, for the release of the paperback edition, I think I enjoyed it even more.
This time, the relationship between Sunny and her mother really stood out to me – the tension between doing the best for yourself and doing the best for your children spoke to me even more strongly. I also thought, again, more strongly this time, that the way in which Lydia evokes Maxon’s austistic nature was fascinating – it was quite amazing seeing the world, and space, through his eyes. This time, I had tears in my eyes as I finished reading this beautiful, tragi-comic family drama.
I’m thrilled to say that Lydia has been kind enough to answer some questions for us about Shine Shine Shine – come back tomorrow to see her responses, which I found really interesting. Also, we’re thrilled to have five copies of Shine Shine Shine, with its wonderful new paperback cover design to give away to readers of Adventures With Words. Again, come back tomorrow to find out how you can win.
Carry on reading for my original review…
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. They were different together. Now, they are married, and Sunny wants, more than anything, to be ‘normal’. But her husband is on a NASA mission to the moon, and a meteor is heading his way. Sunny wishes Maxon would turn the rocket around and come straight home. It’s not an easy life being the wife of an astronaut, the daughter of a sick mother, the mother to an autistic son and a supportive ear to your friends. Nor is it easy to be a fragile human being, a million miles away from home and family, alone in the great dark emptiness of space.
At the opening of Shine Shine Shine, these are exactly the positions Sunny and Maxon find themselves in. Lydia Netzer’s prose is flowing and smooth, but also unusual; it’s full of simile and metaphor. We view the world through the eyes on Sunny and Maxon in turn, including the way in which their worries and neuroses warp their perception and therefore ours. So a crack in a wall by the pantry noticed by Sunny is deep and gaping, but then in fact is tiny and barely noticeable. When she visits her mother in hospital, although she is dying on the inside, Sunny puts that out of her mind, focussing on her external beauty, including the vines – tubes and wires – curling around her limbs and growing from her mouth.
I found this ‘making strange’ technique really refreshing. Shine Shine Shine is a very fresh, atypical telling of what is really a universal story of love and families parted and reunited.