...by and large, the novel is grounded in the richness of its characters, and especially in the portrait of female friendship that Shapiro has painted. In their different ways, these two women turn to one another with very human, very ambivalent needs ... Shapiro’s writing is light and lovely, evoking the sun of her title.
Shapiro adroitly conveys the women’s complicated intimacy, their shared history and private jokes ... there is a mirroring Oedipal dream in this perceptive, carefully layered novel ... Lee’s erotic pull, inherited from her father, is a rich loam feeding the women’s friendship. Shapiro turns over just enough of this to satisfy our curiosity.
The parts of The Sun in Your Eyes that linger most in my mind are the settings and moods that Shapiro creates: the golden, hazy college summer when Lee and Viv become friends ... It's difficult to evoke nostalgia without becoming maudlin or sentimental, but Shapiro pulls it off, enough to justify the bond that holds Viv and Lee so tightly.
For several years, the women are out of touch until Lee reappears, convincing Viv to take one last road trip, this time to find Lee’s father’s lost music tapes. This adventure, with numerous forays into the past, forms The Sun in Your Eyes’ plotline ...insights into each woman and their relationship, fraught with secrets and deception, as well as love and support, is the central conceit of the novel ...the more refreshing aspects of the book is the way it avoids moralizing, presenting the women’s less-attractive qualities — such as envy and self-involvement — as humanizing rather than distancing ...is often flat-out funny, too, with a skewering wit and keen attention to the outer details and character flaws that shape the characters ... It’s a complex journey, but one a reader will want to make.