the mermaid chair, revisited

i finished reading the mermaid chair (by sue monk kidd) this past weekend. when i was 2/3 through it, i’d posted (here) that, while i like her writing so much, i was fairly certain i wasn’t going to like how this book wrapped up. well, i was wrong. i suppose sue monk kidd wouldn’t be a bestselling author if she didn’t know how to land the plane. the book has massive themes of redemption and forgiveness and feminine-empowerment. lots of great god-stuff, too. but it wasn’t an easy-breezy-lemon-squeezy read for me: the main character’s awakening is wonderful and important and gives her new life. but she chooses a somewhat destructive path to get there. and the rub for me (and, really, if i’m being honest, the strength of the book and what makes it not just a simple cookie cutter story) is that i can’t tell if the author thinks that path was actually destructive or a mixture of beautiful-and-some-unfortunate-destruction. so, bottom line: i did really like the book, and it’s more loaded than a good potato skin with deeper levels of meaning and imagery. but it was not 100% settling for me — which, in the end, is part of its strength.

3 thoughts on “the mermaid chair, revisited”

  1. Thanks for the review – will definitely move this one up a bit higher on the pile of books to read!

    And tell Jeannie that yes, I DO understand and am praying for her as she does oh-so-much to make your ministry possible. Hmm, have you scheduled that spa weekend for her yet??! :-)

  2. I have such ambivalence about The Mermaid Chair. Obviously, Kidd is very talented and it is a multi-layered story with lots of interest. I enjoyed many parts of it. But….I couldn’t help feeling *used* after reading it. The way in which she takes the Christian symbols out of their context and employs them to make her own point felt like great disrespect to someone like me who identifies deeply with those symbols. They are they to shape us, not us them.

    On the other hand, I love “Secret Life of Bees”.

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