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Mermaids

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3.70  ·  Rating details ·  575 ratings  ·  73 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
...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published November 3rd 2004 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published December 1st 1986)
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3.70  · 
Rating details
 ·  575 ratings  ·  73 reviews


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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
...more
~ToniG~
Aug 07, 2012 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
...more
Joshua Gross
Mar 22, 2012 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
Jillian Haro
Jan 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Honestly, LOVE this book. It was a quick read that took me two days. I had watched the movie first, though. And I gotta say, I love it when a movie compliments the book completely. Almost exactly the same as the book. I love the sarcasm and the dark comedy. xx
B.
Jan 09, 2013 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nicola Byrne
Jul 12, 2014 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
Tory
Sep 02, 2007 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
...more
Chelsea
Jun 03, 2009 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
Kerri
Apr 09, 2013 rated it did not like it
Weird book. Can't believe they made a movie (Cher, Winona Ryder, Christina Ricci) out of this. The story seemed pointless and depressing unless you are into teen sex, statutory rape, child neglect, religion, and psychological trauma. Can't recommend.
Jillian Marie
Apr 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love, love, love this book! It's not just about coming of age, but it's about the relationship between mother and daughter have each others roles. The movie is actually very similar to the book which is amazing.
Carol Hardesty
Jun 07, 2011 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.
GlowingFalkor
May 29, 2016 rated it it was ok
The rare time when the movie actually WAS better.
Stefania
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
...more
Markie
I picked this book up somewhere years ago, vaguely remembering the film, and finally got around to reading it. I think this might be a rare instance when the film is better than the book. The plot and characterization is funny but a bit bland.

It’s 1963 and the superficially independent women of the Flax family—Mrs. Flax, teenage Charlotte and young Kate—are nonetheless ruled by their encounters with men or lack thereof.

They move frequently cross country when things start getting serious with M
...more
Theediscerning
This little time capsule takes you right back to late '80s American quirk. A young lass with a fly-by-night, live-by-the-hem-of-her-knickers mother can't decide whether she wants to be the saintliest girl around, or rogered any which way by any man she can get. It's a bizarre look at a hormonal teenager, and her younger sister being such an aquatically-minded sibling only adds to the oddities. It's not exactly funny, it's not particularly daring, it's certainly not a revelatory read - but heck, ...more
Larissa Foxx
Feb 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing

Mermaids is the best book I’ve ever read. I’m tempted to go back and change my ratings of the other books accordingly, but I want the stars to reflect how I felt about the book at the time I had finished it, to be of true representation. There isn’t much I can say, the characters are genius. The plot is perfect. I love this book. It drew me in and never let me out. I see myself in Charlotte, the holiest bits of me and the guiltiest pieces of me. It’s stunning. I will never forget this book. It l
...more
Kellie
I found out years after the film that it was originally a book, and had always been interested in reading it. I finally got around to it. Although it was a bit slow-paced, and Charlotte's obsession/relationship with Joe (who apparently is Native American in the book) was a bit creepy to me at times, I enjoyed the read. I really liked the quirkiness of each character. Charlotte was just trying to figure out who she is and what she will be, Mrs. Flax is just a bit flaky, and Kate seems to be the m ...more
Isaiah Vianese
May 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This beautiful little novel captures coming of age, the longing to be loved, and the hope for stability amidst change. Charlotte is a sweet protagonist, and you can't help wishing things turn out alright for her. Extremely enjoyable.
Tiffany turner
Nov 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
mermaids was my favorite movie as a teenager got older and read the book the book is just as good as the movie ordered the 2 book to mermaids the name of it is star fish its about an older Kate Mrs flax and Charlotte
Jill Marie
Apr 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I saw the movie before the book, by accident. I found out about the book, and it's AMAZING. I was actually very surprised at how well the movie matched the book. Anyway, perfect coming of age book, and perfect crazy family book. I loved each character and each of their problems.
Lynette Lark
Aug 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I could relate to this book.
Madame Jane
Jan 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kate is such an endearing character.
sj
May 07, 2012 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!

[ahem]

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
...more
Erik Bloom
May 20, 2013 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
Sharon
Mar 23, 2016 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
...more
Ellen
Feb 18, 2017 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.
Melissa Ramirez
Feb 18, 2015 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
...more
Kay
Jan 02, 2015 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
...more
Kevin Nelson
Apr 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-by-friends
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
Melanie
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
...more
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