SHINE, SHINE, SHINE

 

LYDIA NETZER

Shine is a family drama focusing on Sunny Mann and her autistic son Bubber. Her husband, Maxon, is currently in space overseeing his project of robots that can build larger robots that will build a space station on the moon. Maxon, a Nobel prize winner, has aspergers syndrome. Maxon and Sunny are childhood friends who married. Sunny’s mother helped teach Maxon social skills that aspergers’ people find so hard to learn. While Maxon is in orbit, Sunny is maintaining her guise as the perfect wife, mother and homemaker, even as she deals with a terminally ill mother, an autistic toddler who is having problems in school and the end stages of pregnancy.

“Deep in darkness, there was a tiny light. Inside the light, he floated in a spaceship. It felt cold to him, floating there. Inside his body, he felt the cold of space.”

About Sunny: “The tragedy of her father’s absence had never actually been an acutely tragic event for her. As she grew up and came to understand the world, he was a part of it. An already dead part. His absence was the landscape of her family. Increasingly, as the years went on, she didn’t really know what she was missing, but that didn’t stop her from missing it. She fixated on him. She prayed to him. She attempted to research him, found obscure publications of his in scientific journals. The language was so formal, she could barely understand it. But she told herself, This is familiar. This is mine, bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh. She thought, There was a feeling he had, when he wrote this, when he was alive. He communicated it to me, even though everyone who reads this article only gets a lot of information about this scientific test subject, and his reaction to all these oils. She dreamed her father was still out there [ . . . though] her belief that her father was still living did not stop her from telling stories about his death.”

A must read with wonderful quirky characters but somewhat heavy laden. The theme of the terminally ill mother should have been left out.

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