Monday, December 13, 2010

Review: Mermaid by Carolyn Turgeon

A few weeks ago, an acquaintance handed me a book and said he thought I’d like it. I didn’t know him very well; we only spoke occasionally, but I took the book and was automatically intrigued. The book was Mermaid, A Twist on the Classic Tale by Carolyn Turgeon.

The Little Mermaid is one of my favorite Disney movies, and one of my favorite fairy tales. I grew up wishing I could be Ariel (Disney ending, not the original). This might also be the reason I want to be a redhead, but I digress.

How can you not love the hair? summarizes it as, “The story of two very different women, one mortal, one mermaid, and the clash between worlds best kept apart...” but I disagree. While it is the story of two different women, the worlds are not best kept apart. If anything, the story is more about uniting all lands and worlds, whether it can or should be done, and the sacrifices that must be made to do so.

The characters are wonderfully fleshed out, and the alternating between the mermaid and the mortal give the story a little something extra. Even with knowing how the story is supposed to end, I cared enough about each woman that I didn’t know who should end up with who. Anyone who can take a familiar story and still manage to surprise me is aces in my book.

One of the best things Carolyn Turgeon has managed to capture is the wonder a person feels when they see something amazing and magical for the first time. Seeing our world through the eyes of the mermaid makes me appreciate the good a little more, and seeing the ocean through both the mermaid and the mortal make me want to explore its secrets (I should probably learn to swim first).

It’s a darker version of the classic story. It stays true to Andersen’s original tale, and is very graphic at times, but as tragic as the story was, I saw more hope and love in the pages than pain. I felt like everyone was trying to do the best they could with their circumstances, and no one was out to intentionally hurt anyone else.

I loved the book. It recaptured old feelings of wonder and magic. Mermaid is published by Three Rivers and it slated for release in March 2011. To learn more about Carolyn Turgeon, check out her blog here.