The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd (book review)

What a disappointing book after ‘The Secret Life of Bees’. I found the opening theme of dismemberment to be tired very tired. It’s been done before in ‘I know this much is true’ and ‘Where the heart is.’

If Jesse found Brother Thomas so attractive because of:

“My falling in love with him had everything to do with his monkness, his loyalty to what lay deep within him, the self-containment of his solitude, that desire to be transformed.”

Huh? If he was so devoted to god, what the heck was he doing fooling around with a married woman?

There were some nice phrases though. I chuckled at this one is about a shrine fashioned from an upturned bathtub sunk half into the earth:

“The first time I saw the tub, I told Mother that all those tears Mary’s statues reportedly cried were because of the extreme tackiness of her devotees.”

It was pretty clear that Brother Thomas had come to the monastery to flee the pains of everyday life not to run into the open arms of god.

I have come here not to find answers,” he’d written in his notebook that first year, “but to find a way to live in a world without any.”

Okay that’s cool. But you don’t have to run away and join a monastery for that, a few minutes of Buddhist meditation could get you the same.

“Sometimes just being honest is just being stupid.”

Jesse blamed her husband for making her feel stale. I think that’s lame. She had an obligation to herself to nurture her own uniqueness. We all do.

This whole idea that infatuation can somehow compete with years of marriage really irked me. Maybe it’s human nature to run away from problems but to build a good marriage you stay and work though the hard times. This builds a relationship that I doubt any fleeting lust could breach.

And no, I didn’t like ‘The Bridges of Madison County’ either.


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