Sunday, February 26, 2012

Shine by Lauren Myracle

Growing up is one of the hardest things to face. Personally, I found the entire concept difficult, from puberty to the pressure to change what books I read. Shine is in part about growing up. When we are young we shine, the world shines. Then bad things happen, and the shine is lost.

When Cat was young, she was best friends with Patrick. Then Cat started to distance herself from him and from all of her friends. The book starts with an article describing an attack on Patrick. His skull was bashed and a gas pump was taped to his mouth. Because of the trauma and the gas fumes, Patrick ended up in a coma.

The crime seems to have been a hate crime because Patrick is gay. Local police believe that the crime was committed by someone just passing through, maybe some college kids from the nearby city. Cat thinks that someone in her town knows more than they are saying. She feels that she owes it to her old friend to find out who hurt him, even as others work to keep the truth hidden. It now sounds like a John Grisham novel.

Shine is definitely ultra-dramatic and ultra-Southern. It reminds me a bit of the movie Winter's Bone. All those Southern staples are there, the church goers and the fallen sports hero and the crystal meth. I ended up guessing the ending fairly early in the book. It seemed like the obvious solution, and the obvious solution is usually the right one. In this case, it was also a pretty sad solution as well. Not to give too much away, but I understand why Cat didn't want it to be true. Unfortunately, yet another part of growing up is facing that ugly truth. Sometimes we trust the wrong people and sometimes we think our greatest protectors let us down. When we find out the truth, it turns the world upside down. But then we can move forward and move on, let go of the pain from the loss of childhood. We can shine again.

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