An Alternate Cover Edition Exists Here.Sue Monk Kidd S Phenomenal Debut, The Secret Life Of Bees, Became A Runaway Bestseller That Is Still On The New York Times Bestseller List Than Two Years After Its Paperback Publication Now, In Her Luminous New Novel, Kidd Has Woven A Transcendent Tale That Will Thrill Her Legion Of Fans Telling The Story Of Jessie Sullivan A Love Story Between A Woman And A Monk, A Woman And Her Husband, And Ultimately A Woman And Her Own Soul Kidd Charts A Journey Of Awakening And Self Discovery Illuminated With A Brilliance That Only A Writer Of Her Ability Could Conjure. I did not like this book That s not entirely accurate I loved the religious themes that ran through this book, I loved the stories of growing up on an island, I loved the Mermaid aspect of this story.So why the rating of did not like I m really tired of stories where the lead character decides they need to drastically change their life Then they run off through either some decision they consciously make or through some twist of fate as in this case to find themselves While finding themselves they find surprise a new love interest At this point they find themselves madly and inexplicably in LOVE with someone they met 10 minutes ago They decide to walk away from a secure albeit bland life and a stable albeit ordinary lover spouse who has given them a lifelong commitment.After making the decision to leave the said stable relationship the lead character always and I mean ALWAYS manages to convince themselves and the reader that it isn t just lust that draws them into this new relationship oh no, it s TRUE LOVE This new person is the person they were meant to be with.So they plunge into this new relationship often without ending the first one with great bliss Headlong into the great unknown Romping around, rolling in the hay, having a grand ole time convinced they are in love and life will be like this for the rest of their days Nothing could be better Nothing could end this bliss This is what life is meant to be.And then yep Then another plot twist either separates the two new lovers, or throws the lead character back into the path of the stable relationship.And lo and behold it turns out the new relationship isn t all that great And the first relationship is what they really need Smacks head loudly.d oh And now our beloved lead character leaves the new found love and goes back to the first love.And they live happily ever after.I m really tired of authors using this device plot Really tired of it I feel it cheapens the importance of marriage or a committed relationship, and makes the lead character typically a woman look naive and well, let s be honest, like an idiot Okay that s overly harsh It makes the woman look less than insightful at best Let s call a spade a spade The lead character wanted to have a steamy affair with their new found love interest And they felt guilty because they were already married So they convinced themselves that they were at a point in their life where they needed to change and they found this amazing new person who could love who they now are Why not just admit they want to have an affair and damn the consequences At least have the decency to be honest with themselves and the reader about it Sigh Time to step off my soap box.I suppose this book hit me at just the wrong moment There were parts I loved But the overall plot frustrates me It presents a stereo type of women that doesn t sit well with me It is possible to find yourself while still honoring your commitments and keeping your integrity intact And that s a plot line I d like to see of This book is so corny it will pass straight through you, undigested. Read this book as it was a selection for my book club Although I thoroughly enjoyed The Secret Life Of Bees by the same writer, I found this book to be a far different sort of read In Bees, while I enjoyed the plot, it was the characters that I found myself hooked to In The Mermaid Chair I found the plot to be only mildly entertaining and the characters lacking in development The main character I found to be whiny, annoying, selfish, and someone I just couldn t connect to on any level The other characters Whit, Nelle, Hepzibah, Kat, and Benne left me disappointed as well, although I did like them than the protagonist The latter characters had the potential for being interesting and moving, but still we weren t really allowed to connect to them as the reader, as we didn t get to see them enough Whit Brother Thomas was the most developed of them all, in that you got to see his turmoil over his decision to enter to monestary, but the others were left 2 dimentional The narration also bothered me The protagonist was the only character presented to us in the first person The other narrator s perspectives Whit and Hugh were told in the 3rd person This errked me in that I feel I MAY have been able to connect a little with the protagonist s plight had the narration been 3rd person Being 1st, she came across as I stated above whiny, annoying, and selfish If anyone wants my copy of the book they are welcome to it It s not one I will recommend to anyone and certainly one I won t reread in the future. 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. Very disappointed in this book since I loved The Secret Life of Bees The best thing I can say about it is that it is highly readablean easy summer read I believe in lust at first site, a spark that makes you want to get to know someone, etc No matter how hard I tried, I could not wrap myself around the decision of a woman to leave a husband of 20 years and a monk to turn his back on the monastery on the basis of a first glance after which both proclaimed being in love And if you can t buy into this, then you can t buy into the book Also, the women characters engage in silly symbolic gestures, the kind that you enjoy at age 10 The author does not let you glean any meaning for yourself She describes her paintings and then points out their very obvious psychological interpretations I don t think she gives her readers much credit If a reader wants a simple summer read and finds a forbidden romance titillating, this is the book for you I would pass, however, if I had it to do again. terrible Middle life crisis dribble It was like gargling salt water. I bought this book when I went with my mother to go hear Sue Monk Kidd speak Let me tell you, she speaks as eloquently as she writes She s also just as witty After hearing her speak, I realized that a lot of her personality comes through in her writing Her amazing writing.She spoke of how she felt The Mermaid Chair was going to be often compared to The Secret Life of Bees and maybe wouldn t be able to live up to the high praise it s earned so far She also worried about the characters being too similar I don t think Sue has anything to worry about The only thing the two books have in common is the author s writing a beautiful, flowing and engaging style.I think I like Sue s style so much because it has the right amount of description for things, her dialogue is realistic, and when you think about it her stories seem so outlandish, but when reading it you can see it actually happening Her writing is also very eloquent and deep, but fun and witty at the same time.There are no characters in The Mermaid Chair that are reminiscent of any in The Secret Life of Bees, and specifically what Kidd was worried about was people might roll there eyes at another pack of strong female characters taking presidence in the book I didn t and don t see any problem in that We need as many strong literary female characters as we can get And these women, that you grow to love, are as strong as they come.The way the love story was written out was also so wonderful You find yourself feeling for Jessie s dilemna of being in love with two men Kidd doesn t write it so you re leaning towards one man over the other well, you may be, but it s honestly hard to choose because both men are so likeable and good looking and genuinely care for Jessie And though Hugh is the only one painted as having any flaws, they re pointed out to us by Jessie who, after twenty years of marriage, has come to find some things he does annoying, which she later comes to realize and we know are endearing.Personally, I liked The Secret Life of Bees over The Mermaid Chair because I just found that one interesting but The Mermaid Chair was just as engaging and well written as it s predecessor It s really up to you to choose which one you like better The Mermaid Chair definitely holds it s own. NO.NO Give me a break There is NOT love at first sight LUST.Not love Whatever That just pisses me off and sets a pissy tone for the rest of the book.Bored woman goes to take care of crazy mom on island that is full of monks Woman sees monk says oh, I m in love, he s part of my soul Monk sees woman and decides he s in love had nothing to do with not getting any for several years They screw like rabbits, she decides to stay with her husband and he decides not to take his final vows Oh, and mom reveals reason for dad s death no longer crazy.blah blah blah.Sorry this is a craptastic review, but the whole love at first sight stuff got me all grouchy. The main character in this book just seemed like a whiner to me Boo hoo, my husband won t let me be myself Ummm, let s see, is it his job to let you be yourself, or was that your job all your life while he was supporting the family so you could putz around decorating your lovely Victorian house and messing with your little collages that never go anywhere I found nothing wrong with her husband He seemed like an intelligent, sensitive guy, and the minute he lets her out of his sight she s boinking a monk This is her solution to him not letting her be herself Gimme a break Plus, this is the second book Kidd wrote with weird new Agey, quasi feminist quasi religious rituals in them It might seem deep to some people, but to me it just seems frivolous and hokey Religion is serious business throwing threads in the ocean and holding hands is just girlish silliness compared to a real religion I m not sure what the point of this stuff is supposed to be Like my reviews Check out my blog at of The Saint s Mistress I loved this book, but reading most of the reviews, it seems like most people hated this book I do think The Secret Life of Bees was better I enjoyed the characters and storyline in Bees so than The Mermaid Chair The main character of Jessie drove me crazy sometimes because, as everyone thinks, she could be so selfish sometimes when it came to her mother and her husband True, it s a little unbelievable Jessie would choose to pretty much ignore her mother s mental state and spend most of her time and energy in love with a monk But when you think about it, their relationship had been strained for a long time and people can be in denial and choose distraction over reality In fact, I m surprised Nelle and Jessie didn t get into fights after their long estranged relationship I didn t feel like Hepzibah s character added anything substantial to the ladies frienship or the novel Lastly, I did not understand this great love between Jessie and Whit To me it wasn t love but a selfish act both felt like they needed to indulge in Readers remember the shoe salesman question Despite all these complaints, which seem to concern a lot of the main points of The Mermaid Chair, I loved all the small things about this novel all the background stuff What I enjoyed about this book were the tales of the mermaid and the mermaid chair, the town s annual mermaid chair ritual, Max the eternal dog, Kat the no nonsense best friend, descriptions of Jessie s box artwork and her mermaid paintings, the island s topography, the descriptions of Jessie, Dee, and Hugh s birthday follies, and most of all the touching memories between Jessie and her father The last plot twist about Jessie s father surprised me I for one did not see it coming.
- 368 pages
- The Mermaid Chair
- Sue Monk Kidd
- 18 September 2019 Sue Monk Kidd