Wednesday, January 13, 2016


Sunny Mann is a young woman who has been hairless from birth.  To fit in better with her affluent friends, she never goes out in public without her false eyebrows, lashes, and an appropriate wig.  Then her wig flies off in a car accident, and she vows never to put it on again.  The accident seems to have jostled her senses a bit, because she also decides to take her autistic son Bubber off his meds, despite the fact that he has been evicted from his pre-school.  To complete her renunciation of the artificial, she allows hospital staff to remove her mother from life support.  And did I mention that she’s pregnant?  Her husband Maxon’s life, on the other hand, revolves around the artificial—artificial intelligence, that is.  Maxon, whom Sunny has known since childhood, is a high-functioning autistic savant and a Nobel-prize-winning robotics scientist.  While Sunny is stripping down her tumultuous life in Virginia, Maxon is on his way to the moon.  The mission’s cargo module contains robots that will build more robots from materials on the moon, to pave the way for human colonization.  In other words, the Manns are not your typical family, but they grapple with very typical issues—guilt, anxiety, humiliation, marital strife, and indecision over what to bring to the neighborhood crafts bazaar.  Dark secrets eventually come to light, but overall this is not a dark novel.  It does indeed shine, as do its characters, who refuse to see themselves as victims of their afflictions.  Sunny and Maxon are both strong individuals who never seem to doubt their ability to cope.

No comments: