Monday, July 23, 2012

Audiobook Review - Shine, Shine, Shine by Lydia Netzer (4.5/5 stars)

Reading Level: Adult
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Size: 320 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: July 17, 2012
ISBN-13: 978-1250007070
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: Audiobook from Publisher
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

I got a copy of this audiobook to review from Macmillan Audio in exchange for an honest review. This was an excellent read that is more contemporary fiction than science fiction. It’s a book about life in general and how people try to force themselves into a “normal” mold.

Sunny’s life is perfect. She has the perfect house, a successful husband, and good friends. Everything is just right except that: her husband just left on a trip to the moon, her 4 year old son is autistic, her mother is dying, she is very pregnant, and she has no hair. Her husband, Maxon, loves robots and he loves his family and is brilliant, but he’s up in space. As Sunny’s world begins to fall apart she starts to realize that there is no normal, everyone is just as flawed as everyone else.

The audiobook was very well done. The voices for different characters were easy to differentiate and the narrator was pleasant to listen to. The book does jump around in time some, this was denoted by pauses in the audiobook or by the start of a new chapter. The time changes were a bit hard to follow...but after listening a few seconds I was usually able to figure out who was talking and what time frame we were in.

The book explores Sunny and Maxon and their past and present. We learn how they got to be where they are and how Sunny tried to force normality on them when she got pregnant. Sunny and Maxon are both incredibly unique people with an interesting relationship. But Sunny has an idea of what a mother and family should be and tries to force them into that mold. The deeper Sunny digs into the lives of those around her the more she finds that normal isn’t really all that normal.

This is a really great book that encompasses a number of issues really well. This book deals with space travel, robots, autism, motherhood, womanhood, what it means to be normal and just so many things. It is written in a piece-meal way. You hear from the wife/mother Sunny and you hear from her husband, Maxon. You listen to what is currently happening in their lives and what has happened in the past. Despite the way the plot jumps around it all comes together to make an interesting and cohesive story.

The characters are all very real people and the story in very engaging. You keep wondering if Maxon will make it to the moon, if Sunny will have her baby before he gets back, and if their son will do okay off of his meds.

This is definitely more contemporary fiction and just a story about life in general. This is really not a sci-fi/fantasy read. Yeah there is a bit about space travel and robots...but that takes a backseat to reading about Sunny and how she deals with her life. Still I enjoyed it overall and enjoyed how it makes you think.

The one thing I did not enjoy at all was the ending...absolutely nothing is resolved. Although this is in keeping with the story (it's about life and life doesn't have any clean cut answers and endings); I hate endings that are that unresolved and open. So just a warning to those who dislike open ended stories without any resolution.

Overall this was a wonderfully written book, that was creative and engaging. The characters are completely believable and the plot was engaging. This is more of a contemporary fiction than science fiction so keep that in mind; there is some space travel but that takes a back seat to watching Sunny deal with her every day life. This book is about realizing that everyone is different and that there is no normal, instead there are many different ways to lead a fulfilling life. It is a book that will definitely make you think about the way you live your life. Recommended to those interested in contemporary literature, quirky characters, and autism.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- 150+ Books Reading Challenge

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