Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer
This is a love story. This is a story about what makes us human. This is a story about reaching for the stars. Lydia Netzer’s poetic narration in Shine Shine Shine transports us to the Moon.
We meet Sunny Mann living in an immaculate Georgian house in a perfectly geometrically gridded neighborhood in Norfolk, Virginia and hosting a get-together with her girlfriends. She is perfectly manicured and coiffed and dressed in cute maternity wear, as she is pregnant with her second child. The ladies gossip about Les Weathers, the perfect news anchor, who lives nearby. The girls chat about Sunny’s brilliant and rich but odd astronaut husband, Maxon, who is on a rocket on the way to colonize the moon. Sunny is embodiment of the well-off suburban stay-at-home mom, including the silver minivan.
Then Sunny notices a crack in the wall of her perfect mansion. Has it always been there? She rushes to pick up her autistic son, who is well-medicated and getting the best treatment; stops to visit her mother in the hospital, who is being kept alive by machines on Sunny’s insistence; and then she has a car accident on her way home. Her wig flies off in the crash, and we find out Sunny is bald as one of Stephen Spielberg’s aliens.
Once she transforms herself from a “Wife” to a “Mother,” Sunny has felt this need to be normal, to build a “sanctuary for their lives, to guard against the intrusion of the weird, the lapping waves of the past.” Yet her carefully crafted façade starts to crumble.
Maxon’s journey to the moon parallels Sunny’s crisis on earth. He creates laughing, dreaming robots that will colonize the Moon by creating what humans will need there, but robots cannot love, forgive or regret, and when a meteor hits the spaceship he is on and alters his journey, he too must face his demons.
Moving from the past, present and future on earth and in space, Lydia Netzer leads us on Sunny and Maxon’s journey to what makes them truly human. Sunny and Maxon Mann, the next step in evolution, will make a new life for their family even if they have to go live on the Moon to do it.