Book Review

Shine, Shine, Shine by Lydia Netzer

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Keep reading this book! 

I’m not going to lie, I was very tempted to put this book down after the first chapter. I found the characters to be ‘too much’ and not overly interesting. If I wasn’t reading it in the tub, or if I hadn’t paid for it, I would have likely quickly stopped reading and picked something else up – boy, am I glad I didn’t.

True to the reviews on the back, this is a really unique love story that seems to defy convention. While the characters aren’t very likeable at the beginning, they soon grow on you and their eccentricities become rather loveable.

I think one of the most beautiful aspects of this book is how it examines love – and not in that fairy tale, everything’s perfect and they all lived happily ever after way – but in a real, it hurts, it’s dirty, it’s messy and it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense – kind of way.

Of course, love isn’t the only motive the book examines, but the bigger, scarier, concept of humanity – and what it is that makes us human. Juxtaposing humans against robots (not in a Sci-Fi kind of way), the male protagonist (who has Aspergers) outlines the 3 things that humans can do, but robots cannot: love, regret, and forgive.

Aside from the beginning, the only other thing I didn’t really like was the presentation of Autism. I worry about art that depicts people living with Autism as being super-evolved humans, as it really diminishes the true depth of pain and suffering that comes along with this horrible disease. I also worry about how these kind of representations can lead people to have unrealistic expectations of those who are living with Autism and not respect their abilities and limitations. If you can get past this and the beginning (not really that hard to do), it is quite an enjoyable read, that really inspires you to embrace your humanity and love dis spite all the flaws!