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The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd

"Conventionality is not morality. Self-righteousness is not religion." Charlotte Bronte - writing as Currer Bell in the preface to Jane Eyre. (This quote is being added to my info page.)

I finished The Mermaid Chair last night. And I am now starting Jane Eyre. This is my maiden voyage into Bronte territory.

It was hard to read The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd and not compare it to her first novel, The Secret Life of Bees. There are many similarities because in both books there is a group of women who are lifelong friends that have secrets and rituals binding them together through the years. Both books also delve into the impact of parents' doings on the lives of their female children. The Secret Life of Bees is told through the eyes of a child while The Mermaid Chair is dealing with the impact of the past on an adult.

The main character in The Mermaid Chair, Jessie, leaves her devoted husband behind with some relief when she returns to the island where she grew up. Her mother has harmed herself in a very violent manner and Jessie goes home to take care of her. Jessie is determined to solve the mystery behind her mother's wound. Jessie also learns that there was more to the story of her father's accidental death when she was nine years old.

While dealing with the unanswered questions about her family, she plunges willingly and willfully into an affair with a monk. He lives near her childhood home in the monastery that houses the fabled mermaid chair of the title. The relationship opens Jessie to an honest examination of her past, present and future and allows her to reclaim the true self that was lost when her father died.

I loved this book as much as The Secret Life of Bees. I recommend both of them.

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Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
artemiswinter
Oct. 14th, 2005 01:14 pm (UTC)
I really like Jane Eyre. Far better than Wuthering Heights in my opinion (my only other foray into Bronte-ness, albiet a different sister). I hope you enjoy it. And when you're done, of course, you've got to read The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde, which made a lot more sense after I'd finally read Jane Eyre. :)
silverdee
Oct. 15th, 2005 06:56 am (UTC)
I've wanted to read Jane Eyre for a long time. I wanted to read it even more after reading The Eyre Affair.
aromenis
Oct. 14th, 2005 03:38 pm (UTC)
That is definitely the next book I'm reading! :)
silverdee
Oct. 15th, 2005 06:57 am (UTC)
I hope you like it, too!
ladymeow
Oct. 15th, 2005 09:37 am (UTC)
Jane Eyre is the woman... enjoy. :)
silverdee
Oct. 15th, 2005 10:28 am (UTC)
I've read about 10 pages so far and she is already quite the sassy little thing.
(Anonymous)
Mar. 7th, 2008 08:55 pm (UTC)
international Women's Day!
all with the international Women's Day!
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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