Monday, July 5, 2010

The Mermaid Chair

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Hello my friends {and I have quite a few new friends it looks like}.  First I wanna say thanks for following and welcome!  Now that little bit is out of the way let me jump right into my review on The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd.  The very first thing I have to say is IT IS ABOUT BLOODY TIME!!!!!  I have been reading and listening to tons and tons of horrid books lately and I am sure you all are sick and tired of me writing reviews on books I hated!  But while The Mermaid Chair isn't going to leap to the top of my favorites list, at least it was extraordinarily well written and the story was captivating.  Why I haven't picked up a book by Kidd before is beyond me, but I am so so glad I did!  She paints such a pretty picture and develops her characters so well that I felt like I wanted to move to Egret Island, become part of this little community and raise my unborn children there!  I was enthralled with this book by the first paragraph because it has a very surprising start and I wanted to find out "what the heck??"  Here is the first line...

"In the middle of my marriage, when I was above all Hugh's wife and Dee's mother, one of those unambiguous women with no desire to disturb the universe, I fell in love with a Benedictine monk."
So I mean come on...  How do you not read more and figure out how this woman who is happily married falls in love with a Benedictine monk that is cloistered on a little Island off the cost of South Carolina?  I'll give you a little hint but that's it.  It has to do with a purposely severed finger.  A special needs adult that has a knack for knowing the things you are thinking.  A very devout mother.  Mermaids, a chair, and a 20 year old family secret that is resurfacing after all the years it has been buried under the sea.  On top of this intriguing story is the wit and voice of a charming southern woman named Jessie, and I really really liked her!  Most the time, when I read books about unfaithfulness in marriage, I get so mad at the guilty party but I really loved this lady, and felt like I was rooting for her no matter what her decision was.  I really liked her husband Hugh and the Benedictine monk so I didn't really know how I wanted it to end.  Also, I always always figure out what is going to happen on the end of the book, way before the end of the book, but I was surprised when Kidd tied up all the loose ends and some of those little ends weren't exactly what I had thought they would be!  So do you wanna read it?  Huh?  Huh?

I would recommend this book to just about anyone.  It isn't that long and her writing is so beautiful that it is easy to read, so consider this book if you are headed to the beach.  Book clubs would love it and discuss the heck out of it because it is chalked full of literary, religious, and mythical symbolism.  So all in all I am elated that I finally read a book I liked after so many others I wanted to chuck in the bin!  I thought that maybe The Road had ruined it for me and nothing would ever again compare.  I remember feeling the same way after I read The Time Travelers Wife for the first time, it took me a long time to find another good book after that one.  But it looks like I am out of my reading rut because I have another fantastic audio book review for you waiting in the wings, and I am reading 2 amazing books right now!  So in the next few weeks you will see some glowing recommendations!

BOOK vs. MOVIE:  There was a Lifetime movie made on The Mermaid Chair in 2006 staring Kim Basinger.  It didn't really get great reviews but I'd give it a try if I ran across it on TV.

RATING: 4 Stars

3 more reviews on The Mermaid Chair:

The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd
ISBN: 0143057421
10 Hour and 22 Minutes
Eliza Foss

If you liked The Mermaid Chair you should also read: The Help by Kathryn Stockett


  1. I bought a used copy of this book about six months ago and still haven't read it. I didn't know anything about it when I bought it--I think I just liked the title and the cover--but now I am really looking forward to reading it! Thanks for the review!

  2. You have real personality through your reviews, I enjoy that.

    Found you from Jackies blog - Lovely Little Shelf

  3. Glad you found a good book, finally! I'll have to read The Mermaid Chair sometime. I love gorgeous writing, and it sounds like this book has plenty of that!

  4. @Kathy.. You should push The Mermaid Chair to the top of your "To Be Read" pile! Then come back and let me know what you think!

    @Marce.. Thank you so much! I used to write pretty dry reviews and then I read some blogs where the writers personality was just as entertaining as some of the books they were reviewing and I decided to give it a try. It really is my true voice now.

    @Emidy.. I know! I am SO glad to finally have found a good book! If you love beautiful writing you should give this a try. I have heard that The Secret Life of Bees is just as good. I've seen the movie but haven't read the book yet. I am so glad I found Sue Monk Kidd.

  5. ohh. I'm glad to know what you thought of this book. It's been on my book shelf for a while. Maybe I'll try to get around to it a little faster. I like Sue Monk Kidd.

  6. I have had this book for 14 yrs and I am just know reading it. So far so good, wish I would have started reading it a long time ago. It has really taking me to another place. I can escape every night before I go to bed

  7. "sandalynn01 said...
    I have had this book for 14 yrs..."

    1996? are you a time traveler?
    the "Author's Note" says "this novel began one summer day in 2001" and it was published in 2005.