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3.68  ·  Rating Details ·  465 Ratings  ·  63 Reviews
"Mrs. Flax was happiest when she was leaving a place, but I wanted to stay put long enough to fall down crazy and hear the Word of God. I always called my mother Mrs. Flax."

So begins this extraordinary first novel about one wild year in the life of fourteen-year-old Charlotte Flax, when she and her sister Kate move with Mrs. Flax into a sleepy 1960's Massachusetts town. Mr
Paperback, 192 pages
Published November 3rd 2004 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published December 1st 1986)
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Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
For more reviews, Cover Snark and more, visit A Reader of Fictions.

Fact #1: Mermaids came out in 1967.

Fact #2: Mermaids is not about mermaids.

Fact #3: Mermaids was made into a movie starring Cher as Mrs. Flax, the wild mother, Winona Ryder as the older daughter, and Christina Ricci as the younger daughter. Though I haven’t seen the movie, this is the perfect cast for this book, which ought to tell you something.

Guys, this book was strange. Mostly, it was actually a pretty normal YA plotline, not
Aug 07, 2012 ~ToniG~ rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012, reviewed
Was I the only person in the whole wide universe who did not know this was a book first? I think I was.

I discovered this very interesting read at the local library. I loved the movie and was very excited to make this discovery. Then I read it...

Way darker then the movie to me, though Mrs. Flax seemed to care a bit more that Miss Charlotte was seeing a waaay older man. It was disturbing how old he was really. Speaking of Joe, did anyone else think he was a bit...special? It seemed that he always
Joshua Gross
Mar 22, 2012 Joshua Gross rated it really liked it
I had always loved the movie Mermaids and when I watched it again yesterday I noticed that it was based on a book. I don't know how I managed to miss that, but I immediately went on to Amazon and got the book to read. The movie was surprisingly true to the book, but there were some parts that weren't in the movie that were just as interesting. I love Mrs. Flax and the fact that she only makes hors d'oeuvres, and the book went into a little more detail. I mean, she goes grocery shopping, she just ...more
Nicola Byrne
Jul 12, 2014 Nicola Byrne rated it it was ok
I love the concept of this story, but most of it being told through Charlotte ruins it, in my opinion. I would have much preferred to see more dialogue from the likes of Joe and Lou, instead of having to decipher their words through Charlotte’s rambles. This fourteen-year-old girl has some serious problems. Granted she’s a teenager; she’s confused about everything, which is perfectly fine. But she’s also completely neurotic, and her inability to stick to one thought makes this an exhausting read ...more
Sep 02, 2007 Tory rated it really liked it
"I pinched my cheeks for color and tried to keep my eyes open as wide as I could. I wanted to be the most gorgeous woman on the planet Earth, so gorgeous that Joe would kneel in front of the whole town and beg me to run away and live in a teepee with him."

It was strange reading a book that is the original of a movie I have watched countless times and love so much. I didn’t even know it was a book until I happened upon it at the bookstore recently.

I could hear Movie Charlotte’s voice (Winona Ryd
Jun 03, 2009 Chelsea rated it did not like it
This book was recommended to me by a friend, so I agreed to read it despite not liking the sound of it from the descriptions on the back and the jacket. I should have stuck with my initial intuition and not read it. I'm not sure what she liked about it, but religious undertones, pedophilia, and child neglect don't do it for me...maybe that's just me. I would NOT recommend this book to others, but all things aside I DID read the whole book, so maybe it's attraction is that it keeps you curious to ...more
Carol Hardesty
Jun 07, 2011 Carol Hardesty rated it liked it
This is a pretty quirky, somewhat realistic coming-of-age story. Though it is pretty sad to see such an innocent girl like Charlotte lose that virtue (and her virginity to boot). The best part was when Mrs. Flax came out in her mermaid costume and she and the girls had real fun for once.
Prima di commentare questa storia, vorrei porre una domanda: cosa si è fumato chiunque abbia scritto la quarta di copertina prima di scriverla?
Da qui leggiamo che Cher, la mamma, alias "la signora Flax" è una persona avara e che spende solo soldi per sé tralasciando le povere figlie, le quali decidono quindi di rifugiarsi in un mondo immaginario.

Com'è veramente la storia: la signora Flax e le sue due figlie cambiano in continuazione casa, a seconda dell'umore della mamma, ed ora sono approdate a
Jan 09, 2013 B. rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 07, 2012 sj rated it really liked it
Originally posted here.

I'm going to assume that if you're a woman currently between the ages of about 31-45 you've seen the 1990 Cher/Winona Ryder film Mermaids.  If you haven't - WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?  GO RENT THAT ISH RIGHT THIS SECOND!


What I mean to say is that this movie was amazing.  Well, maybe not amazing, but it was amazing at the time.  It had very little to do with Cher, and instead focused on her young daughter, played by Winona Ryder before she started shoplifting an
Erik Bloom
May 20, 2013 Erik Bloom rated it really liked it
If you are like me, you probably first saw the movie (Mermaids). Like the movie, the book tells the story of teenager Charlotte Flax, her mother (Mrs. Flax), and her champion swimmer sister Kate. The novel focuses on Charlotte's search for belonging or membership. Charlotte feels alone in the world and strangely disconnected from the rest of society. She sees herself as the "only adult" in her house and sometimes in the whole world. She calls her mother "Mrs. Flax," perhaps to emphasize the dist ...more
Mar 23, 2016 Sharon rated it liked it
Shelves: booktube-a-thon
Booktube-a-thon 2016: Read a Book-to-Movie Adaptation

Mermaids, the movie version, starring Winona Ryder and Cher, has always been one of my favourite films. I only recently found out that it was based on a book (and THERE'S A SEQUEL!!), so it was a natural choice for this challenge prompt.

"Wake up, Kate", I said firmly, "welcome to home sweet home number eighteen."

Set in 1963, Mrs Flax moves around a lot with her young daughters. She's a single mother, a feisty woman who loves the attention of
Feb 18, 2017 Ellen rated it really liked it
"Who do you want me to smell like, Thomas Jefferson?"

This is a weird book, very unusual. I watched the movie last month and liked the quirky characters, and I'm happy that the book has the same odd feel to it. I think I'll read it again some day, like a human bean.
Feb 18, 2015 Melissa rated it liked it
Mild Spoilers! You have been warned.

After being recommended the movie, I watched and immediately loved "Mermaids". Part of my love for the film stemmed from the fact that it has Winona Ryder in it (I love her. Enough said.) but mostly, the movie was your typical "dysfunctional family" tale. Nevertheless, I love any kind of movie with drama/dysfunction in it, so it was a winner for me. The cast was pretty perfect, too. After watching it, I tried to track the book down, but it took me a while - s
Jan 02, 2015 Kay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you've seen the film, you have to read the novel - it's every bit as funny and eclectic as the movie adaptation.

It probably helps that I read each sentence with an echo of the actors in my head, but the main strength of Mermaids is that the characters are so real. They're strange, but their quirks are what makes the book believable: each odd trait or reaction brings the pages to life. The writing is great, too; Patty Dann has a way of including details that really give dimension, and the fun
Kevin Nelson
Apr 09, 2013 Kevin Nelson rated it it was amazing
This book is funny, witty, and sharply written, and there's an inspirational story behind it that may interest both students of Patty's writing courses (she teaches writing in New York) and her many readers. Patty and I met when we were both working at the A&E Television network in New York, and while she was there she was re-reading a book she had written but had put away, thinking perhaps it was not quite yet ready to be published. But as she was reading it she found that her manuscript wa ...more
I'm one of those people that didn't grow up with the movie, so when I did watch it, I found it boring. But somehow, as boring as the movie was to me, the characters were brought to life. I really can't say the same for the book. I was rather surprised at how bland and mainly boring the characters were here. Even Joe, the love interest, was made a narcissistic idiot here. He was really no fun to read about at ALL.

Charlotte's voice was interesting at first, but got old quick. She was really weird
Moriah Reyes
Dec 31, 2012 Moriah Reyes rated it liked it
Pros. The character, Charlotte is very interesting and funny! Though her obsession is an odd one, the story is about growing up and it is relatable.

Cons. The other characters aren't always believable. The disinterested love interest is only interested in himself. It's very frustrating to listen in on his rambling as he ignores Charlotte. The head honcho nun spills out her entire life story to Charlotte in jerky jumps in monolouge. Mrs. Flax is pleasant only once. (Charlotte and Katies dialouge a
David Jay
Aug 18, 2015 David Jay rated it it was amazing
I see from reading other reviews that I am not the only fan of the film version who had no idea the movie was based on a book.

And what a wonderful, wonderful treat this book is. Bizarre, heartbreaking, and beautiful. Teenager Charlotte Flax is a freak that will appeal to any reader's inner freak, I'm only sorry the book wasn't around when I was a teenager. Charlotte is a Jewish girl who dreams of becoming a nun, who has never met her father but is obsessed with the thought of him, who has a moth
Aug 10, 2012 Tally rated it liked it
Mermaids has been one of my top favorite films ever since I can remember. Alas, the fact it was based on a novel was somehow unknown to me until quite recently, and when it did occur to me I was looking forward to reading it. Nonetheless, it was one of those rare cases in which the adaptation rises above its origin. Reading the novel almost felt like watching the "deleted scenes" part on a DVD, as it features scenes that didn’t make the final cut of the film and from a good reason, apparently, a ...more
Jan 29, 2014 Jennifer rated it really liked it
This was such a delightful book. The sort of book you’d reach for when you’re feeling down and want something comforting and funny to read.

It’s told from the perspective of fourteen-year-old Charlotte who’s just moved with her single mother and younger sister to a small town in New England in the early sixties. She’s got an obsession with being virtuous and is constantly struggling with her tendencies of telling lies and, especially, falling in love.

It’s a wonderful coming-of-age story with qui
Sep 29, 2012 Lucy rated it liked it
This is another book that I read when I was 13 or 14. I remember not understanding it very well. I just re-read it as an adult, and it wasn't just my adolescence and inexperience that made the book difficult. The story is told by the 14-year-old Charlotte, and Patty Dann lets Charlotte be strange and hormonal and irrational and confused. Charlotte is definitely an unreliable narrator and Dann doesn't insert her author self in order to make sure that her readers understand what is happening.

K.E. Saxon
Jul 06, 2013 K.E. Saxon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thoroughly enjoyable, charming story of teenage angst and family relationships (mother-daughter, sister-sister) set in New England in the early 1960s, Filled with unforgettable characters, and both poignant and amusing situations and dialogue. For those who are curious: The motion picture storyline follows closely to the book's, but there are a few differences. Some characters are fleshed out more in the movie, and some are fleshed out more in the book (I won't say which---you'll have to discove ...more
Rebecca McNutt
After seeing the 1990's film adaptation staring Christina Ricci and Winona Ryder, I was really hoping that the novel would have a lot more to offer. It was an okay book but it just wasn't as great as I expected it to be. The writing was choppy, Charlotte (the main character) just came across as annoying, whiny and unlikeable and her mom, whom she calls "Ms. Flax", was just self-centered and childish. I liked the descriptions of the Massachusetts scenery but otherwise this just wasn't worth readi ...more
Charlotte at 14 (being Jewish) longs to become a saint. Or at least receive some sign from God. Anything.
Meanwhile, she has to deal with a mother a bit flaky and a sister who seems part-fish. Her hormones are also very active - having fallen in love a hundred times. She continues the process with Joseph Perretti, a caretaker at the convent and who is twice her age.
In the end they make love even as her sister Kate almost drowns. Yet all is resolved in the end. Kate recovers, her mother matures,
Jul 24, 2008 Britney rated it it was amazing
The first experience I had with this story was the movie, I loved the movie, so of course I had to read the book. First, finding the book was difficult, but so worth the search! The main character, Charlotte, is such an extremist. Mrs. Flax is portrayed in such a brilliant way through the eyes of her 14 year old daughter. And you can't help but fall in love with Kate. It is a great story about a family who is struggling and how they make it through. Loved it!
Jan 16, 2009 Christine rated it liked it
You know... this is one of those rare cases where the movie is better than the book. They made the characters a little fuller, with a little more heart. I did like the book, and I am sure I would have liked it a lot more if I had read it before the movie came out (and then would have been thrilled with the result once it had!) but I am glad I read it in the end. Plus it is a very short read, so worth it for the time it takes.
Apr 11, 2010 Lindsay rated it liked it
Shelves: book-to-film
They made a movie out of this book with Wynonna Rider and Cher. I love the movie, so when I saw that it was based on a book, I read the book. The two follow each other pretty well, but between the book or the movie, I'd pick the movie. But I did still enjoy the book. It made me laugh. The mother is crazy, and the daughter is a confused teen living in 50's (or maybe 60's) I don't remember. I like it, so check it out. It'll make you think about your relationship with your own mother.
Beth Lind
May 18, 2013 Beth Lind rated it really liked it
I saw this movie when it came out and then just found out that it was a book first. Maybe all movies are books first but if I know it then I won't see the movie until I've read the book. Regardless, this sweet and quirky book was wonderful. I love all the ways that Charlotte has conversations and worries in her head. A well told tale that the movie followed pretty closely (at least how I remember the movie).
Aug 06, 2013 Michaela rated it it was ok
I saw the movie before I read the book ( I didn't know it was a book) and I thought the movie was a lot better. The way that the author tones Charlotte makes her unrelatable. She always seems like she's talking to herself and it made me feel like I was intruding on something. Besides Charlotte and Kate, none of the other characters were developed very well. It made the book seem unrealistic. Overall I am fairly dissapointed.
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