Jennifer's Reviews > The Mermaid Chair

The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd
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's review
Jun 19, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: chick-lit
Read in June, 2008

I liked this alot, in spite of my predilection not to once I realized the gist of the story. I didn't enjoy it quite as much as The Secret Life of Bees... it was exceptionally well-written, definitely better than most of the stuff I have been reading. It was relevant and I think prompted reflection on my general psychological well-being and state. But I couldn't help but feel like it wasn't fresh... to me. Some of what the main character Jessie learned I feel like I already knew. So I didn't relish the spectacular affair she had with Brother Thomas, because I knew all along how it would end. That part wasn't a discovery for me.

Where I think Kidd's true strength is, is in her writing about family ties and how they influence us. Jessie's relationship with her father was the most poignant for me, and the most true. I felt like her mother was pathetic and this part of the story, about the women-bonds in Jessie's life, didn't really ring true. The story was about Jessie's relationships with men and how her father impacted those.

Having said I enjoyed it and it prompted reflection on my own life, I was vaguely uneasy with all the psychological posturing in the book. I guess it was an integral part of the character's journey, but it was a little too self-conscious, particularly when shared from the viewpoint of Hugh.

Although I prefer her first novel, I would recommend this one and I'll read anything else she puts out. I think this novel may be more profound than I am giving it credit for... perhaps because, as I've said, what Jessie discovered about her need for self just didn't seem like news to me.
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message 1: by Erica (new)

Erica Actually, I think it's less profound than you're giving it credit for. Maybe I should try to look at it as an earthy, gritty book about desire without any thought at all. I mean, there's a lot of thinking, but no thought for the consequences.

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