Tuesday, April 23, 2013
The Mermaid of Brooklyn, Amy Shearn ~ Book review
The randomness of how I came to review this book is something I feel I need to share with you. I clicked through to TLC Book Tours and saw some information on this title. I decided I needed to reach out and see if I could get my hands on a copy of the book.
I LITERALLY (I promise, it was) opened up my email to start to draft a message, when a message came in offering me this book to review.
Hello? Kismet? Why, yes, thank you very much.
The Mermaid of Brooklyn.
A book about a mom. Who, me? I'm a mom!
A book about Brooklyn? Why, yes, thankyouverymuch again!
I'm in. For sure.
Jenny - the primary character of the book? A stay-at-home-mom of two. A wife who is struggling with the mundane of the day to day. Her husband Harry? Meh. He's not that exciting. We're not really sure about much when it comes to him. Except ...
That he disappears.
What the heck? Where did he go? What is WRONG with him? He just up and leaves his wife and two daughters and their dog? HIS dog, as Jenny so irritably states.
What the heck, Harry? What's your deal?
Jenny struggles. We feel her. I felt her. She was living in what she described as a small town in one of the largest and most amazing cities in the world. Personally, I've never quite looked at Park Slope in that way, but I could see and feel it. Shearn's writing brought me home again, even though Park Slope was never my home. But Brooklyn? Take the girl out of Brooklyn but ... you know the rest, right?
I'm headed home for the weekend and I totally want to call Jenny up and go meet her for coffee. Okay, probably Amy, as the author and the actual REAL person here, but I'm back to the book. To the character. Characters.
Jenny reaches a breaking point, and we follow her to it and through it.
I'll admit, at that point, when the novel took an interesting turn, she lost me for a bit. A few hurried pages, me, the confused reader ... but then something took over and I just went with it. With this new version of Jenny. Mom. Flirt. Friend. Talented woman.
Many a woman has felt that motherhood and the mundane moments that come with it leave them so far removed from who they once were. Many a woman would deny that was ever the case for THEM. But some of those women might be avoiding the truth a bit. It's reality. Motherhood DOES change who you are. You're still you inside, but when you look at your life, the crumbs in the carpet, the never-ending battle of getting your baby to sleep and stay asleep for a few hours in a row, the breastfeeding, the bottles, the pacifiers, the playgrounds, the looks from other moms, the judgment or hopeful lack of it? It's all there. It's all happening.
This character? This Jenny? She got it.
And so I liked her. I felt for her. I understood her - not everything she did, certainly - but a lot of what she felt.
She was human. She may have been experiencing postpartum mood related issues. She had been on medication. She stopped because she was nursing. She was SO real when it came to relating to the things so many moms had been through.
I'll say it. Amy Shearn knows how to write moms. (Her bio says she has two kids, so that's understandable, but not every mother knows how to write the character of one, so for this I applaud her!)
You may hate Jenny. You might love her. You'll probably do both.
She's interesting. She's questionable. She's learning. Aren't we all?
This is definitely a bizarre story. Not your average novel, despite what some of my earlier remarks seem to indicate. But worth a read. Maybe even on a summer's day - at the park. Watching the many moms around you as their children play. Grab an ice cream cone or an iced coffee and find your spot. It'll be worth it.
Lucky me, TLC Book Tours has offered me a copy to give away to one of my readers. They're crazy like that these days! Just leave a comment if you're interested and if you can, name the last character in a book you read that you related to. In any way at all.
And feel free to tweet this, too. Just cc/ me @goodgirlgonered and I'll count it as an extra entry if you provide the link in a separate comment. That'd rock.
** I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review from TLC Book Tours. They also are giving a copy of the book to one of my readers. I was not compensated for this review and all expressed opinions, as ALWAYS, are completely and utterly my own. **