The Mermaid of Brooklyn by Amy Shearn is about a nuclear family, recently abandoned by the father, who in some way encounters a mermaid (named Madam Not-Appearing-In-This-Sample).
WHY I PICKED IT UP
I like to review things that are new, and I chanced upon an ad that said this one came out on 4/2/13. Score! Also, I like the idea of mermaids.
WHERE/WHY I STOPPED
I finished the sample, though one gripe I have is that the eponymous mermaid makes no appearance or mention in the sample. Another is that, over the first few pages the first person narrator states multiple times, conversationally, that she dies. This is not addressed at all by the end of the sample, and not mentioned past the first few pages. Other than that it was quite enjoyable.
WHAT COULD BEE BETTER, IF ANYTHING
I like how the lack of narrative structure underscores the chaos of parenting two small, hyperactive children, but the way she jumps back and forth to little windows in the recent past makes it a tad difficult to follow. That said, the action could begin sooner as well; after finding out the father hasn’t called or texted since going AWOL, the plot reaches a halt to allow for some cathartic rants on the perils of child-rearing. Overall, I liked the sample; it’s the author’s voice which makes the narration interesting and keeps the reader going.
The author has also decided to give her main character depression, but the sample contains too little of it to say whether this is a pro or a con (she indicates the character took Xanax; that’s not a common depression med).
The narration is pithy and paced fairly well, and I like how the author at least gives a nod to authentic mythological mermaids. I’m clearly not the target demographic, but I just might continue with this to see where it goes…