Wednesday, December 29, 2010

December Book Club & Review: Mermaids in the Basement by Michael Lee West

Author: Michael Lee West

Genre: Fiction

Publisher: Harper Collins

About (From Harper Collins):
Reeling from the loss of her mother, plagued with a bad case of writer's block (and don't even talk about those extra twenty pounds), Renata DeChavannes feels as though everything is just plain wrong. And that was before the tabloids caught her sweetheart, filmmaker Ferg Lauderdale, sharing an intimate squeeze with Hollywood's hottest young tamale. 

But the granddaughter of the formidable Honora DeChavannes possesses more hell than belle in her backbone—and she's about to reclaim it. Heading south to Honora's home on the Gulf Coast, Renata is determined to stop feeling like a wilted gardenia and emerge as the unstoppable kudzu her beloved grandmother proudly proclaimed she would be. But for that to happen Renata's got to face some not-so-genteel ghosts from her past, discover the truth about the mother she desperately misses, and make peace with the first man who abandoned her and broke her heart: her handsome and distant father.

My Thoughts:

I have fallen in love with Southern Fiction this year and I really wanted to like this book. My book club chose it as our December book club pick as it was a lighter read around the holidays. Much of the story reads like a Hollywood movie or gossip column and there were many subplots to follow. I wish that the author had taken the main character, Renata to a higher level as she learns that her parents aren't what she believed them to be. As Renata retreats to the south at her grandmother Honora's home, she finds a trunk that gives clues to her parents marriage and her mother who died a year previously. I found this part interesting but the story then diverted into many subplots that were often hard to keep straight as the story progressed. I tried to like Renata but she was a rather whiny character. I did adore her grandmother Honora who had more depth to her character. When my book club met to discuss the book, we were split 50/50...2 of us liked it and 2 didn't care for it, I fell in the latter group. One of the things that came up in our discussion is that this book would make a great Hollywood movie. It just wasn't my cup of tea, I expected more and found the book a bit over the top in many parts and predictable.

Source: I borrowed this book from the library. 

January Book Club: I'm excited about our January book club as we'll be discussing The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. I've already listened to this on audio book and was fascinated, enthralled, shocked and I learned a lot about cells, research & medical testing and much more. It is a must read and I canot wait to discuss this book with my book club.


  1. A friend from work actually recommended this one to me, but now after reading your review I won't bother!! Your next one does sound interesting. I've read so many great thoughts on it...can't wait to hear what your book club thinks about it!

  2. Mermaids wasn't my cup of tea either, for all of the same reasons you mentioned. It's been awhile since I read it but it left me kind of lukewarm.

    Absolutely agree with you on The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks! Loved that one.

  3. I have this one on my shelves, but I don't think it's for me either?? Can't all be winners sadly.

  4. Hi Bonnie! I have this book in my mountain to read, don't think I'll be pushing this one up to the top of the pile any time soon! Thanks for the review!

  5. Such a gorgeous cover, too bad it didn't live up to expectations.


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