Sunday, October 14, 2012

Shine Shine Shine ~ Lydia Netzer

Here I am, with yet another book that I finished weeks ago, this time on audiobook (my first purchase with Audible, which I officially L O V E).  And it was SO GOOD.  And weird.  And random.  And I loved it.  Unfortunately, the time gap and lack of a paper copy for me to reference means I don't have that many specific things to say about the novel, but I'll give you what counts.

Meet Sunny, who was born totally bald in Burma during an eclipse to a missionary and his wife.  Sunny grows up bald and weird and loving it.  She marries Maxon, who grew up in rural Pennsylvania, and is odd in an autistic sort of way, and a genius in an autistic sort of way, and thinks of humans as machines that can be understood if only you understand the code, so if they smile, you smile, and if they cry, you pat their shoulders, and so on.  And they're all weird and quirky and bald together (because Maxon shaves his head) and then they decide to have babies and Sunny turns into a Stepford wife, except the head Stepford wife who's in charge of everything, including the men that think they're in charge).  And she buys a series of blonde wigs and things are idyllic and perfect except for their red-headed son, Bubber, who is labelled autistic and is pumped full of drugs by people like Sunny who thinks he should be normal.  The novel starts one day after Maxon is shot off into outer space to colonize the moon with the aliens he built using human code.  And Sunny's world literally spins off of her head, while a radio show host mourning his lost wife tries to get in her pants, or something.  And it's so weird.

It's kind of like Lydia Netzer was all this is a cool idea, and this, and this, and I shall use superglue and you shall not even see the lines, and you don't.  Sunny was completely identifiable in her strong need to be different and to be the same.  Maxon was odd and inaccessible but lovable.  The novel is told from both of their perspectives, traveling about in time, in a way that reveals details at just the right moment.

My only complaint is regarding the reader, as often is the case when I listen to audiobooks read by Americans (the English have this market cornered).  Her voice was spot on for Sunny, but too squeaky and feminine for everybody else.  She actually really reminded me of the reader for The Hunger Games - I even thought I could identify which characters had the same voices - but apparently I was wrong about that.  Her men's voices especially bizarre, with some comically low-pitched and others bizarrely shrill.  And her Bubber-voice was kind of offensive - autistic does not mean robotic duck.  But despite her, I got through it, and managed to love it.

So yeah.  I could say all sorts of smartie things about this, and most of them would probably be snooty and insulting, but they would be wrong, because the randomness is what makes this book (also the writing [I think, it's hard to be sure about such things with audiobooks]).  You'll be left wondering what makes you human and if it might have something to do with your hair.

1 comment:

  1. Audible is totally addictive. They're so smart to suck you in with that one month free trial.

    Suddenly you find yourself doing housework and crafts to *audiobooks* instead of music or tv. ;-)

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