Erin's Reviews > The Mermaid Chair

The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd
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's review
Jan 06, 09

bookshelves: literary
Read in January, 2009

After glancing over the goodreads reviews of this book, and seeing how negative they were, I was expecting to dislike, or simply feel apathy for, this book. But I really loved it, surprisingly so. I enjoyed "The Secret Life of Bees", but I didn't connect to the characters as much as I connected to Jessie in this story. This book tackles a difficult subject: how can you fall in love with someone else while still married to a wonderful man who hasn't changed? The goodreads complaints were that Jessie has no reason to fall for another man--her husband is seemingly perfect, and she's just selfish and awful for not wanting him. But I loved the gray areas of the story, and I didn't find myself able to judge her easily (and I'm pretty judgmental!)

The story is this: Middle aged artist and housewife Jessie returns to her childhood home off the coast of South Carolina to care for her aging and depressed mother. She has avoided home because of the sad memories she has of her father being killed in an accident when Jessie was a child, and she blames herself for his death. While there, she falls for a Benedictine monk who turns Jessie's life upside down. Kidd writes beautifully, and I read this faster than a lot of other recent novels. I thought she explained (but never excused) Jessie's confused emotions and behaviors realistically--nothing is ever black and white, even love. Especially love. And what she (and the reader) realizes at the end is how much she has closed herself off--from her mother, her husband, and especially herself. I was touched by the character's honesty and her humanity, and I thought it was a beautiful story of how a person has to sink to the very bottom before they can climb their way back to the surface.
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Reading Progress

01/04/2009 page 180

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Debbie great review! I agree!

message 2: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy Thank you for your review! I agree that there are grey areas in all the souls of this book, and yet there is love, too.

I'm still at the beginning, so we'll see how it goes!

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