Monday, January 19, 2009

[JessFinds] The Mermaid Chair

A book review for your consideration.

I don't normally jump in to popular fiction but I decided to try out The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd. She is the author of The Secret Life of Bees, a book that met with critical and popular success.

I was suckered in by the premise: Woman married, sense of self depleted, stuck in a rut. Goes off to save her crazy mother from herself and ends up falling in love with a Benedictine Monk. Classic. Forbidden hanky panky ensues. Skeletons in closets are reavealed.Woman finds self through exploration of said forbidden love. Nice psychiatrist husband is ticked off.

I am pro hot monk love. Something about a cloistered 40 something hetrosexual with soulful eyes, a fit physicality and a secret hermatige does it for me. Forbidden love indeed. Can you comepete with God? It has disaster written all over it. Go big or go home. I could relate. I have eleven years of marriage under my belt, I know about ruts! Yes! Hot monk love is the way to salvation! Save me hot monk!

It was lame.

The author is a very thoughtful writer who had no real thoughts on this relationship. It was so contrived. It started out with potential but then seemed to tread water. I felt like she was too careful to avoid appearing tawdry, did not want any sort of harlequin romance connotations. But come on. Skinny dipping with a hot monk is tawdry. It is so incredibly naughty. You are NOT supposed to do that. That is a no-no.

I think I wanted to be convinced that the lead character was as crazy as I am. That she found the whole idea so outlandish that it just might work. It is a major notch on the bedpost. You have to be a little proud that you made a man doubt his holy orders. A self-congratulatory pat on the back? Just one? No. It was all seriousness and bor(yawn)ing. She was above that. Their love was sacred and, without giving away too much, apparently not really worth the effort.

I wanted messy. Tormented. Gut wrenching. I got pleasant. amicable. mature.

The lead is even named Jessie. I wanted to like her. Really I did.

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