Retro Reading: Mermaids by Patty Dann
It’s always a slippery slope when you’ve read a book and then it’s adapted into a movie. No matter the outcome, chances are you’ll probably favor one over the other.
For many reading this review, you’ve undoubtedly seen the movie countless times and may have thought about reading the book, but in reality, the movie is much better than the book.
Most of the movie seems to have been taken from the first few and last pages, with a few other parts thrown in for good measure.
After another unsuccessful relationship, Mrs. Flax packs herself and daughters Charlotte and Kate and the three head to Grove, Massachusetts to begin yet another new life.
Charlotte desperately wants to be a nun and takes it as a sign when she finds out that a convent is at the top of the hill. Things start to get complicated when she begins to fall in love with Joe Paretti, a much older man.
Her younger sister Kate would rather swim twenty four hours a day and Mrs. Flax is getting a little itchy about moving.
The novel begins in the spring of 1963 and continues until the spring of the following year.
During this time period, Joe becomes a much bigger character than in the movie, and Mrs. Flax and Lou’s relationship is not as passionate.
The overall tone is much darker than the movie and while it’s a fast read, you can separate the movie images from your mind and redevelop what you think the characters look like.
I wouldn’t say this is a bad read, but I think if you’re a fan of the movie, you may find your mind wandering when you’re reading about the other characters.
Like most people, I’ll stick with the movie.