Dy's Take

May 23, 2009

Mermaids in the Basement by Michael Lee West

Filed under: ChickLit,SouthernLit — Dy @ 23:10

( 38 )

I’ve got a friend (waves at Candy) who digs Southern lit, so I’ve been reading a little more of it the last few years. I liked this book, I enjoyed the story, but the technical issues drove me mad.

When you are changing from one character’s perspective to another, sometimes a mere chapter change is not enough of an indicator.  I hated having to get a full page into a chapter before being able to readily identify which character was telling the story.  Particularly with not one, not two, but ~four~ semi-interchangeable old Southern women narrators. The addition of the MCs boyfriend as a perspective character at the tail end of the book annoyed the hell out of me, too, as well as the 2 or 3 times the MC’s dad told the story.  Sure, in the dad’s case it was a perspective we needed in order to move the story forward, but the way it was done was untidy.

Which brings me to my other big gripe about this book, and the one that most thoroughly pulled me OUT of the story to notice the technical flaw.  During the storytelling chapters, when a character was telling a story from the past to Renata (the MC), they would refer to her in third person.  It read like Gladys or Honora was speaking to the reader about the MC, not speaking to the MC.  For me, that tore it.  I lost the illusion. Until that started happening (more toward the latter half of the book–sloppy editing?) I could imagine myself as the MC having all these conversations with myself and my family, discovering my past. Until my Great-Aunt started speaking about me like she was talking to a stranger…

See what I mean?

I loved the plot, and the characters, particularly Isabella, and, oddly enough, Louie, but the shifting POV thing left me cold.  I ~might~ recommend it, but would NOT re-read it.

For Candy— say 6 out of 10 😉


1 Comment »

  1. LOL… I actually don’t read too much of it. I like it okay and I’ll read it now and then when I start missing home, but some of it is just crap. And D. Frank is the worst – don’t even bother. *laugh*

    Not that I’m opinionated or anything.

    But yeah, I hate when there’s too many voices. It annoys the heck out of me.

    Comment by Candy Beauchamp — May 24, 2009 @ 13:54 | Reply

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