Stephanie's Reviews > Mermaid: A Twist on the Classic Tale

Mermaid by Carolyn Turgeon
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May 10, 11

Read in April, 2011

Unlike Disney, Turgeon stays relatively close to the original, which let me just say is dark and depressing as all get-out. If you can spare (if that) an hour, read it if you haven't already.

She does, true to promise, deliver a bit of a twist. Not really in the sense that it switches between the princess from the convent and the mermaid, but rather in what happens towards the ending. Taking the land-bound princess's angle was in a sense predictable, since the story was a love-triangle from the beginning (even to some extent in the Disney version). The alternative would have been the prince, who pretty much comes off as a jerk, in my opinion. I suppose there's some development on his part. He turns out to be a jerk semi-reformed by responsibility to his country.

As for the two women who form the linchpin of this story, they both fall rather flat. I'm not sure why exactly, except to say that the entire tone of this book is rather more simplistic than I was expecting. It says true to a fairy-tale style telling rather than the messy, emotionally overwrought adult novel I was expecting. Not that it isn't adult - there are a few sex scenes, etc. but from an emotional standpoint I would say the writing is more for young-adults.

I didn't hate reading it, and it was very easy to go through...I was just mildly disappointed that the opportunity for deep complexity was lost. Which, to be fair, is usually my gripe when I don't give a book a high rating. If you enjoy YA novels and/or retellings, give it a shot. Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast and a host of other retellings, adult or YA, are better in my opinion, but you may find enjoyment in it.
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