There are only a few sure things in life...death, taxes, and a brilliant Joshilyn Jackson narration. You all know how I feel about JJ. It is almost a religious experience listening to her voice say anything. So it was sorta kinda a done deal when I discovered that she would be narrating her first audio that was not hers. I really had no concern for author or plot or anything, I just wanted to hear her do her thing.
And I asked...the library delivered.
The problem is, I'm not really sure where to go from here.
Synopsis: As a child, Sunny was never normal. Born in Burma during a total eclipse, daughter of a missionary who was ultimately killed by the locals, she was without any hair on her body. Once she and her mother moved back to civilization in the US, her difference became very apparent. As a pre-adolescent, she met Maxum, who was brilliant and probably has a touch of autism. But they found comfort in being different together, and eventually married.
Now, as adults, Maxum is a rocket scientist on a mission to colonize the moon with his robots. Sunny had donned a blond wig, has one toddler-aged son Bubber who is autistic, and is pregnant with her second child. Sunny has made every effort to appear to her neighbors as normal as apple pie. She is the ringleader of the community.
But when she is in a traffic accident, and the wig flies off, secrets are revealed, and Sunny is empowered to face all of her childhood ghosts and her hidden fears. She must face the fact that Bubber may never have a normal life, that she is terrified of how the second child will come out, at her ability to be a mother when her husband is of little help, at the possibility that her marriage is on the brink, and that her mother is about to die of cancer.
Through her journey of self-discovery, Sunny is shocked to learn that in fact, normal may be a fantasy - a big lie. That no one is who we think they are.
My thoughts: I will be very forthright even though it hurts. I really struggled with this one. For the first two or three discs, I wasn't even sure I could finish it. The plot is very strange, and the characters are strange. Bald? Burma? The moon? But Joshilyn was narrating, and Joshilyn loves Lydia because they went to school together, and I HAD to try. So I trudged through, and slowly, I got into the swing of things.
The story never got anywhere NEAR anything I'd ever seen before. But I did get used to these odd characters, and I did start to see where Netzer was going with this. There were life lessons here, albeit extreme. Be yourself. Embrace who you are. Be brave. There is no such thing as normal. Everyone is slightly odd behind closed doors. I really couldn't relate to a single person in the story, but I understood their struggles. And I did begin to actually like these people.
So...it wasn't "love at first sight". Maybe more "like at halfway through".
A few words about the audio production: JJ IN DA HOUSE!!!! Her intonations, her accent, her funny little girlish voice, her interpretations of how these folks spoke...it was all Joshilyn. She made me laugh. She entertained me. She got me through the book. Love. So my recommendation is if you are going to read this one, listen, and do it for JJ.
Audiobook length: 10 hours, 53 minutes (320 pages)
3 out of 5 stars