Customer Reviews for

The Mermaid Chair

Average Rating 3
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

Soul Satisfying Book

In The Mermaid Chair, Sue Monk Kidd does for fiction what the Flemish masters did for painting. She imbues each scene with so much reality it unfolds in your mind like a memory.

You can taste the salty sea air and smell the murky island scents of Egret Island. You fe...
In The Mermaid Chair, Sue Monk Kidd does for fiction what the Flemish masters did for painting. She imbues each scene with so much reality it unfolds in your mind like a memory.

You can taste the salty sea air and smell the murky island scents of Egret Island. You feel every horrific and blessed thing that Jessie experiences.

I have never fallen so completely in love with a book before. Her writing is beyond beautiful. It¿s startling and humbling. I found myself nodding and rereading lines, thinking YES that is exactly how it feels but how did she capture it so perfectly?

The book is brimming with brilliance. Some of my favorite lines are:

¿The mind is so good at revising reality to suit its needs.¿

¿There¿s release in knowing the truth no matter how anguishing it is.¿

¿Sometimes the heart wanted what the soul demanded.¿

The story felt like a mid-life crisis crossed with a finding oneself journey.

Sue Monk Kidd¿s website describes the story as ¿the transendent tale explores the lush, unknown region of the feminine soul where the thin line between the spiritual and the erotic exists. Here is an unforgettable love story, between a woman and a monk, a woman and her family, and ultimately a woman and her own soul.¿

I think of it as a spiritual journey that leaves Jessie and the reader forever changed by calling into question the bonds of love and commitment. By reminding us that everything is a choice. Whether to leave a husband, to reunite with a parent, to be fully alive.

Sue Monk Kidd is a master of the writing craft. Her ability to set the scene is breathtaking and realistic. Her dialogue is poignant. Her character¿s internal thoughts vivid and engaging. There was not one point in the book where I wanted to put it down. Every aspect of the writing was engaging. I will be rereading this book for years to come, hoping to gain insight into how she does it.

posted by KourtneyH on December 21, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

Buy The Secret Life of Bees pass this one by

I bought this book for my mom cause she loved the Secret Life of Bees, do not buy this book you will regret it. She hated this book and told me all the details daily as she read this book, she could not have hated a book more. Save yourself do not buy this book it is re...
I bought this book for my mom cause she loved the Secret Life of Bees, do not buy this book you will regret it. She hated this book and told me all the details daily as she read this book, she could not have hated a book more. Save yourself do not buy this book it is really bad.

posted by i-READ-BEFORE-COMMENTING on May 7, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2012

    Pretty good read.

    I enjoyed it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2012

    Not what I expected

    Very easy read, suitable for flying

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  • Posted July 14, 2011

    Ok

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Posted December 5, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Not What I Expected

    I loved "The Secret Life of Bees" and I was a little disappointed at the amount of sexuality in this book. I feel that it is entirely unnecessary to include such details. The plot was thought-provoking and I appreciated the way the author wove the plot around such an obscure myth. Overall, I enjoyed reading it but I could not recommend this novel to my friends and I will probably not read it again.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2008

    Fantasy Island

    This book had high expections and have come up short. This is an easy book to read and follow for even the high school reader. The author is great at making you feel like you're really at the beach and in the same enviroment as the characters. This story is full of vivid legends and stories, so much so that they become unbelieveable. The process a middle-aged women faces when she considers divorce is a complex one and the author makes this affair and seperation an easy break. All the main events are overkill and the ending was a easy way out and undeveloped. I would have enjoyed the book more if the author would have spent more time on Jesse and Hugh's reuniting and shows the real reasons why the couple will remain or split. Hi honey I'm home, my mother cut off 2 fingers, and my father committed suicide and I commited adultry, lets stay together this wasn't good enough and left the reader not connecting to her characters at all in the end.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2007

    Unhappy housewife meets unhappy monk

    A previous reviewer pointed out that this book reads like a draft that was rushed to print. I agree. Too many conflicts are packed into too few pages and most are resolved by the characters' confessional dialogue to each other. I am never happy with this approach in fiction. Too much dialogue. The overall effect, at least for me, is one of triteness. Everybody is trite -- except for Hugh. Having already survived the age group that Jessie and Hugh are in, I can relate to where Hugh is coming from after twenty years' marriage. I can't be that charitable towards his wife, Jessie, as women of any age should always know better. Recommended if you want to read about unhappy wives the way they were meant to be written about: Madame Bovary and Indiscretion of an American Wife.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2007

    Answers, but not from St. Senara

    Initially, I was repulsed from reading the book due to its Harlequin romance inspired cover. I expected it to be yet another bodice ripper. I was surprised to find that the book had a strong spiritual element. The mermaid symbolism added intrigue and narrative unity to the story. The parallels between the narrator Jessie's thought patterns and the events in her life were easy to draw. I also felt that her guilt was deftly conveyed. However, I could not convince myself to believe in the romance between Whit/Thomas and Jessie. It seemed to have all the depth and substance of a teenage infatuation, which is probably why their relationship contained no long term potential. Furthermore, I didn't see how Jessie could love Hugh. He was overbearing and a know-all. Near the end of the book, she says that she belongs to herself, yet she remains married to him. The continuation of their marriage betrays the whole spirit of the book. It showed me that Jessie was simply dependent upon him and that in a practical sense, she could not exercise that independent spirit she reveled in throughout the latter half of the novel. This book read much like a less well-developped version of The Awakening (which I highly reccomend), so I expected that, like Edna, Jessie would separate herself from the married life that repressed her. It would have made more sense for her to stay on the island because that's when the narrative truly came alive her family life at home was fairly dead, with no reason for readers to care much about Hugh or Dee, the stereotypical straight A college student. Above all, the story contained great spiritual principles, alluring imagery, and a recognition of the doubts that follow believers of any religion or creed. If only the whole story could have been as fully fleshed out and compelling as the myth of St. Senara. The only aspect of the book that really stayed with me is my realization that I want that chair.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2007

    Comfortable read, shallow story

    Sue Kidd is a great arranger of words, needs to work on her stories. Her writing is fluid, with concise vivid descriptions, both of things seen and things felt, but her story is riddled with 'whys' and some of the characters just not too believable. It's like the love triangle in Jaws involving the chief, the oceanographer and wifey. The affair just did nothing for the book. This would have been a great mystery, but it bogged down and became a romance story. And not a good one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2007

    Reward for being unfaithful!

    The book was an easy read. However, I became absolutely livid as Jessie began the affair with a monk. If she was so concerned about her mother and how her father died and all the little unanswered question around her how in the world did she have time to roll in the slime of an affair? Hugh was the saint!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2006

    It's Just OK

    Considering how good the Secret Life of Bees was, this kinda falls flat. There are just enough good moments to keep you reading until the end but it does leave you with this feeling of: 'Ahh...okaaay?' not great but not bad. It falls into my 'Good but Whatever' pile.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2006

    The Uncomfortable Chair

    The Mermaid Chair was difficult for me to get through. It was chosen by my book club, as one of the monthly books to read. I struggled to read the entire book, and finally did finish it. I felt it to be slow going, and felt the story lacked substance, suspense and the characters lacked intensity and depth. I was disapointed.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2005

    Good Read

    I read Sue Monk Kidd's, 'The Secret Life of Bees'. It proved to be one of my all time favorite books and I have purchased it for my daughter and several friends. I couldn't wait to open 'The Mermaid Chair', I was disappointed. It was good, but not fantastic. The book was a good study of relationships and it was an enjoyable read, I was just ready for her to top 'Bees'!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2005

    I enjoyed this book.

    I thought Sue Monk Kidd did a fine job with this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2005

    It had its moments

    I had heard that this book was a good one, and it did have its moments, but halfway through I figured that it would end as expected and I kept counting how many pages I had left before I could move onto something else.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2005

    Agree with Other Posts

    I also was expecting a much better book . I thought that I had skipped pages because the book lacked plot and character development. It was an enjoyable read though.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2005

    Not 'Bees' but still good

    I enjoyed this book well enough. No, it was not SECRET LIFE OF BEES, but then you can't really expect an author to repeat his or herself. The story in CHAIR was a bit odd, but I thought Kidd handled the material well. I'm usually one for something a little more explosive and/or funny, like THE BARK OF THE DOGWOOD or some book by Sedaris, but decided to give this a shot

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2005

    Disappointment overall

    It took me awhile to get through this book. Poor character development, unrealistic situations, and an uninteresting plot. After thoroughly enjoying 'The Secret Life of Bees,' I was eager to dive into this book, but it didn't come close to its predecessor. There were some redeeming qualities, so I gave it three stars. But, overall, it was a disappointment.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2005

    Not quite the page-turner

    A beautiful writer whom is a little off the mark this time. If you enjoy a slow family drama with few surprises, this is for you.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2005

    Mermaid Chair

    I have not yet read The Secret Lives of Bees, but I thought this book was entertaining. It is not a must read, but it is interesting. I am not sorry I spent the time to read it, but i probably wouldn't recommend it either.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2005

    It's not that bad

    It's true that this novel does not hold a candle to Ms. Monk's previous book - But I still thought it was engaging and had a interesting, yet trite plot. It could have used a little more development on some parts...I was left wondering 'What else happened?' several times. It had the potential to be quite a fantastic love story, but left me a bit cold. I think it is worth reading, and a good story...just not as good as 'The Secret Life of Bees'.

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