“She had envisioned rejection, renouncing, she had envisioned being drummed out of the neighborhood, her cardigans cut to rags, her minivan repossessed, but she had not anticipated that what might happen was that they would sort of kind of identify with her. That this, the baldness, would make her more like them, not less.”


SHINE SHINE SHINE by Lydia Netzer is 320 pages and today is the pub date. Lydia invited me to join a writer’s (support) group on Facebook called Book Pregnant, and my chums there have saved my sanity on more than one occasion. Her publisher sent me an advanced reader copy of her book, which thrilled me, though I didn’t think I’d review it here because it isn’t historical fiction. It turned out to be one of the best books I’ve read all year, so I had to share it with you.

SHINE SHINE SHINE is the story of a congenitally bald, suburban mom hiding under wigs, her autistic son, Bubber, and her rocket scientist husband who has gone to space to work on colonizing the moon.


If you’re wondering how I came to read such a book when my obsession clearly lies in history, I can tell you that serendipity (and a shared love of the band Carbon Leaf) brought Lydia and I together, and that is how a book like this landed in my hands. I can also tell you that SHINE SHINE SHINE blew my mind, and has opened up all kinds of new reading horizons for me. But back to the story…

Sunny, the bald housewife, has been crafting “the perfect life” with the precision of a surgeon since she found out she was pregnant with her son. She has taken to wearing wigs, baking, moving into the best neighborhood, and becoming the ultimate “super mom,” until one day, a car accident causes her wig to fly out the window, and knocks her entire scripted life out of orbit.

From that moment, Sunny’s world begins to fall apart and she alone must rebuild it. Her relationships with her son, her dying mother, her unusual husband, her community, and her self will be tested in ways she never imagined. She must re-learn how to live the life she was meant for in spite of the consequences.

Remarkable, touching, heartbreaking, shocking, and unique beyond anything I’ve ever read, SHINE SHINE SHINE will capture readers passionate about all genres simply because it is so beautiful, challenging, and original. Do yourself a favor and buy this book today, right now. You’ll thank me. Then come back and tell me what you thought.


9 thoughts on “Review: SHINE SHINE SHINE

  1. Lydia says:

    What an amazing review. I love this. Thank you so much!

  2. stephscottil says:

    Interesting concept. Would you consider this literary fiction?

    • erikarobuck says:

      That is a great question. SHINE SHINE SHINE really defies categorization. I think that it has massive commercial and literary appeal, so I would probably shelve it with “upmarket” or book club fiction–books that straddle the line and beg to be discussed.

  3. Seeing this book everywhere! And after your review, just added it to my TBR list. Can’t wait to chat about it!

  4. erikarobuck says:

    Rumor has it that People Magazine is doing a big spread this week on SHINE SHINE SHINE!! Hooray!

  5. Whoa. I can’t wait to read this…it sounds sooo intriguing. Thanks for the heads up!

  6. […] 6. Shine, Shine, Shine, Lydia Netzer […]

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