Contemporary, Fiction

The Mermaid’s Child by Jo Baker

I’ve heard a lot about this author and since I didn’t have much else to read, I decided to give this book a try. I didn’t write this review for quite a while because frankly, I didn’t know what to say. Even now, my impression of this book isn’t fully formed but hopefully, I can say something meaningful for those interested in reading it.

Malin has never known her mother. She has no picture of her, no keepsake. Her father told her that her mother was a mermaid and had to return to her own people. At first, Malin doesn’t believe him. Even though she is young, she knows that there is no such thing as a mermaid. But when the circus arrives to their little town, she sneaks in and glimpses a mermaid backstage. Before she can make contact with her, she faints. When she wakes up, she finds that the mermaid has disappeared. Spurred by the image of her, Malin is determined to find her no matter the cost.

As I was reading this novel, there were many times when I wanted to put it down. Not because it was badly written, but because it made me feel so sad. Watching Malin struggle through life, having her perception of the world be so deprived of anything truly positive made me depressed. But I could also understand why the author wrote this novel in this way. For me personally, this book deals a lot with choice. Malin has a lot of choices that she can make. And there is no good or bad choice. It isn’t like one choice would make her that much happier than another. Some of these choices aren’t really ones she can get out of; she just has to live with it. I feel like this book is an accurate depiction of what life is really like and that harsh reality is what made me feel so … sad. But before you go about thinking this book is just full of negativity,  I should tell you that it also has a lot to do with strength. Malin has this unique strength to keep going on, to keep wandering even when she isn’t sure of what she is doing. And in the end, I’d like to think that she finally found some sort of happiness. It may not have been the happiness she had gone out searching for, but it would make her life worth living and enjoying. This is the most real book I have ever read – and I don’t mean real in terms of actual events but rather emotions and characters. I would definitely recommend this book to others but only to people who want something deep, something that will make them reflect on their own lives a little,  something that could potentially change the way they think of the world.

Leave a Reply