BOOK TOUR REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: The Mermaids of Lake Michigan by Suzanne Kamata
The Mermaids of Lake Michigan
by Suzanne Kamata
Coming of Age Fiction
Elise Faulkner is more at home in the waters of her beloved Lake Michigan than on land where her beauty queen mom is always on her back about her lack of a social life; her sister is dating the boy of her dreams; her favorite penpal–the one who wrote about mermaids in Ghana–has gotten married and ended their correspondence; and no one’s allowed to talk about her glamorous great-grandmother, the deep-sea wreck diver. Elise is biding her time with books until she can flee. But then crazy Chiara Hanover pops into her life, as does Miguel, a mysterious carnival worker whose dark future has been predicted by a gypsy.
MY THOUGHTS: 2 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS
Being honest, it took me several chapters to get into this book. For at least the first 10 chapters, time goes back and forth from the main character being a little girl, to her current age, high school senior. And by the way–this is a total guess. I never specifically read either an age for the narrator and her sister, OR a year when this story takes place. Though the few context clues lead to the late 70’s.
Our main character is Elise. Though she’s the older sister, she’s always been outshone by her little sis’s grace and beauty. So when free spirited Chiara breezes into town, bookish Elise is quickly enamored of the colorful world she experiences with her and they become best friends.
Though I thought that Elise had a good head on her shoulders, it doesn’t take her long to follow in Chiara’s not so innocent footsteps and lead her life down a spiraling path. I suppose we as readers are meant to surmise that Elise is tired of being the good girl that always comes in second best, but this just didn’t come across for me. Elise meets a guy twice and is instantly in love with him. She makes terrible decision after terrible decision, and into her life come a parade of random people that in the end, don’t mean that much to the story.
This novel was a very fast read, but I can’t say it was for me at all. The things Elise did just were not smart, even though I guess she felt she had no other choice. She’s also BEYOND naive and even seeing some of the shadier sides of the world beyond her town does nothing to make her face reality. I was glad when the ending came but it left a lot to be desired.
About the Author
Suzanne Kamata was born and raised in Grand Haven, Michigan. She is most recently from Lexington, South Carolina, and now lives in Tokushima Prefecture, Japan with her husband and two children. Her short stories, essays, articles and book reviews have appeared in over 100 publications including Real Simple, Brain, Child, Crab Orchard Review, and The Japan Times. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize five times, and received a Special Mention in 2006. She is also a two-time winner of the All Nippon Airways/ Wingspan Fiction Contest, winner of the Paris Book Festival Award, and winner of the Half the World Global Literati Award for the novel.
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