Thursday, November 11, 2010

Literary Bite: The Mermaid Chair

My mama lent me The Mermaid Chair a couple months ago, Oh, take this one too, it’s fine, it’s you know, just fluff.

A fluff book is entertaining but not a page-turner, good but not ground-breaking, has a plot but is generally forgettable. Reading this book did not add much to my life, change my thoughts on anything, or particularly educate me in any way. As we say in my family, it was just fluff – filler between the amazing literature in my life. (Do other people use that term?)

The Mermaid Chair is by Sue Monk Kidd, the author of The Secret Lives of Bees. It takes place on an island off South Carolina, where Jessie Sullivan, a 44-year-old mother and wife, returns home to take care of her crazy ultra-catholic mother and falls in love with a Benedictine monk.

The book feels a wee bit cheesy to me…but maybe that’s just because I don’t really believe in love at first sight? Like how can they be soooo in love to consider giving up a 20-year marriage on Jessie’s side, and a vow to God on Brother Thomas’ in just a couple weeks??? What can I say, I’m a skeptic and I have my doubts.

But the plot is good and her writing style is solid– there’s the love story aspect, but it’s also layered with Jessie trying to find out why her mother cut off her own finger, and the mystery of her father’s death. (I’m not giving away much, I promise.)

The context is kind of fun – it’s a southern island, where one woman speaks Gullah, and they’re constantly eating gumbo. I picture a combination of Misty of Chincoteague, The Legend of Bagger Vance, and Gullah Gullah Island (do you remember that Nickelodeon show? It was on when I was in about 3rd grade).

Anywho, bottom line? Read it if you want - it’s fluff.
Read a more in-depth plot summary and review here.
Oh no – it looks like it was made into an incredibly cheesy movie!