Tuesday, March 13, 2007


This pleasant brain-candy novel, penned by Mary Janice Davidson and published in 2006 by Jove Books, is...a curiosity.

It chronicles the sorry non-adventures of a puckered-up mermaid named Fred. The poor creature wallows miserably in the typical romantic and professional dilemmas of a landscum human woman. In general she comes across as a perfectly normal twentysomething, who happens to be a stunning beauty with hair the color of the ocean. The basic conflict here is that Fred is denying herself all the delights of dry-land existence, as if she were a stereotypical mousy secretary with unflattering glasses and her hair in a bun. If only she would let her hair down, she might...You get the idea.

The author takes great pains to make her as unhappy and badly-fitted to her life as possible. Fred, lovely in human eyes like all Mermaids, handicaps herself with a rotten attitude and a permanent scowl that drives off the men like nobody's business. She's allergic to seafood. She can't swim unless she changes into her aquatic form, and she refuses to change most of the time. She has a degree in marine biology but works at a no-brainer job feeding the fish at an aquarium. She can't even do that properly, because the fish are on strike. They insist on listening to the Pet Shop Boys, and she won't let them...Her whole life goes like this, basically.

Oh, but then she drops her books, and when she leans over to get them her glasses fall off and her hair falls in shining waves about her shoulders! Her boss says, "Good heavens, Miss Makimoto, you're beautiful!" He proposes on the spot, and they live happily ever after... OK, not literally, but suddenly she finds herself torn between TWO attractive men, one a landlubber and one aquatic...Hello? Are you still awake? Actually, this book is not half bad if you like light comedy. But don't expect anything more.


>> This is exactly the wrong book to use to introduce young human females to Piscatorial Love. Even Aquamarine is better, if only because Aquamarine is a harmless ditz and makes a clear decision at the end to return to the sea where she belongs, albeit with only a single recruit. Fred is miserable about being aquatic and never resolves the problem, never accepts what she is. DO I SMELL SEQUEL?

>> This is part of a series by this author focusing on the relationship problems of MYTHOLOGICAL CREATURES. For this reason alone it could not be more inappropriate. It also means Fred is even more misplaced than she realizes.

>> Davidson is a perfectly good writer, but she's 100%, unrepentantly human. This is the Mermaid experience seen through the eyes of the editorial board of Cosmopolitan.

>> If she knew what she was about, Davidson would have talked about Fred's need to draw humans into the sea and DROWN THEM. That's all they were designed for, and that is exactly why we had to discontinue the model. Humans now take it so hard when one of them drowns that instead of honoring the waterlogged comrade's journey and composing a heroic song about it, what you're likely to see is a mass exodus away from the shoreline. NOT what we're after here.

>> This novel is likely to become a sort of piscatorial equivalent to the dirty books the landscum keep hidden fron their chidren: we can't let the little ones see this stuff until they are old enough to understand.


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