Thursday, June 13, 2013

Mermaid the Perfect Novel to Savor Over Long, Lazy Days of Summer

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Stay-at-home mom Jenny Lipkin is doing just fine, thank you very much.  She's left behind her career as a magazine editor to raise her daughters, 2-year-old Betty and baby Rose.  So what if her Park Slope apartment's about the size of a Twinkie?  Or if her husband doesn't make enough money to afford one of the fancy new strollers all the other moms are sporting?  So, Jenny's not as svelte or skilled as the other women around her.  So what?  She's happy enough.  Isn't she?  Actually, she's tottering on the brink of insanity.  She loves her kids, but they're sucking all the life out of her.  She loves being at home, but it's making her crazy.  She loves her life, but it's not turning out quite the way she's planned.  And then there's the unrelenting heat; it's boiling her brain.  That, combined with new-mommy sleep deprivation, is enough to make Jenny want to crawl into her bed (baby spit-up spattered sheets, be darned) and never, ever come out.

Then, her husband bails.  Harry's disappearance isn't even all that unusual—he's a gambler, who goes on frequent binges—but it's enough to put Jenny over the edge.  Especially when weeks roll by with no word from him.  Numbed by anger, fear and desperation, she makes a shocking decision, one that will change her life forever—just not in the way she thinks.

With help from a very unlikely source, Jenny looks at her life in a whole new light.  As she changes her attitude and approach, she finds herself starting to become the woman she's always wanted to be.  But a little attitude can go a long way and when Jenny crosses a line she swore she never would, it's time to step back and ask herself the tough questions:  Who is she, really?  What does she truly want?  How much is she willing to sacrifice to finally find happiness?

I wasn't sure what to expect from The Mermaid of Brooklyn by Amy Shearn, but the novel surprised me.  In a very good way.  From the first sentence of her story, Jenny proves herself to be the kind of honest, self-deprecating character with whom any woman can relate.  She's funny and sympathetic and so real, you just want to reach out and hug her.  Even when she messes up big time, you feel for the girl.  This is a character-driven novel and Jenny Lipkin's more than strong enough to carry it.  The book's got some annoying typos/copy-editing errors, but overall, I ended up really enjoying The Mermaid of Brooklyn.  It's a fierce, empowering read, a perfect novel to savor during the long, lazy days of summer.

(Readalikes:  Hm, I can't think of anything.  Can you?)

Grade:  B+

If this were a movie, it would be rated:  R for strong language and sexual innuendo/content

To the FTC, with love:  I received a finished copy of The Mermaid of Brooklyn from the generous folks at Simon and Schuster via those at BookSparks PR.  Thank you!


2 comments:

  1. Hmmmm...I'll have to try this one. Great review. Very thoughtful

    ReplyDelete
  2. This sounds interesting. I remember seeing the cover for this and thinking it was cute, but I never knew what it was really about. Great review!
    -Natalie @Natflix&Books

    ReplyDelete

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