Miss summer? This will take you back
- Kelly Byal
- Sherwood Gazette - Opinion
If you miss summer already or missed out on your summer reading, Sue Monk Kidd's 'The Mermaid Chair,' will take you back. I particularly enjoyed this book. The beginning was a little slow, but as you delve into it, you really feel like you are in the novel. The plot grew slowly in a good way, for if it had been any faster or slower, the reader would lose interest right away.
The Mermaid Chair is about a middle-aged woman named Jessie who is feeling a little out of touch with herself. Things change when she goes back to her childhood home after her mother cuts off her finger. Being in her old home and taking care of her mother brings up old memories of the past, including the death of Jessie's father when she was about seven years old.
This book contains a number of wonderful characters, each of them guiding Jessie throughout the story. They are her mother's lifelong friends Kat, the outspoken busybody who runs the local mermaid gift shop, Hepzibah, the eccentric Gullah woman that gives island tours and works in the slave cemetery, and lovable Benne, Kat's retarded daughter who claims to hear the thoughts of the local dog, Max. Adding to the mix of colorful characters is Father Dominic, a playful old monk who carries the secret to Jessie's father's death, and Brother Thomas, Jessie's love interest, who helps her through her self- realization. Finally there is the mysterious Mermaid Chair itself, which sits in the abbey.
I really enjoyed this book because it's beautifully written and satisfying, and the story really resonates with me. It's a book I would take along on a beach trip and even though it's intended for middle-aged women, it's a book I still identify with. Sue Monk Kidd stirs up steamy southern images that settle within your subconscious. Her balance of strong characters, beautiful settings, and juicy plot lines will keep the pages turning. I recommend this book to anyone who is homesick for summer.