Thursday, June 26, 2014
Book Review: The Mermaid of Brooklyn
I read a lot of novels, but a lot of time can pass before I find myself engrossed in a novel that I just love. And to my surprise and delight, "The Mermaid of Brooklyn" by Amy Shearn was one of those books.
First, I have to say that the title is so intriguing and perfect. Just that made me want to read this book. The first line was a real grabber, too. But what really got me about this book when I started reading it was the narrator's voice. Jenny, the young, stay-at-home mom of a toddler and a new baby, is wry and honest and snarky and funny and depressed. She's struggling with two kids, the constant feeling that she's never good enough, and trying to figure out how she got where she is. And, with all of that, her husband leaves the apartment to buy cigarettes one night and doesn't come back.
This isn't a mystery. But a complex story unfolds as Jenny is left, angry and sad and overwhelmed, to carry on mothering and trying to keep things going. Then a mermaid enters her life -- and by enters, I mean, starts inhabiting her and bucking her up and challenging her and prodding her forward.
There was so much in this novel that rang true, about child-rearing and marriage and friendship and competition and being a grown up. So many women, especially moms, will relate to this. And with all of this, it stays light while covering deep, important life themes.
I loved it.