Friday, November 07, 2008

Mermaids in the Basement
by Michael Lee West

Published in 2008. 291 pages.

First sentence: If I had not read the cover story in the March 2, 2000, National Enquirer, it's doubtful that I would have gone to Alabama and ruined my daddy's engagement party, much less sent the bride-to-be into a coma.

From the book jacket: The beloved bestselling author of Crazy Ladies returns with a funny and poignant tale that explores the complex bonds between a daughter and her father.

Why I picked up this book: I first saw this book at my local library branch in March. Both the cover and the title caught my eye, but I had a pile of things to check out already so I decided to leave this one. That very night I discovered that tinylittlelibrarian had read and enjoyed the book, and I added it to my to-read list. In July the Salt Lake County Library included Mermaids in the Basement on its Reader's Choice list for July through October 2008. Since one of my categories for the Triple 8 Challenge is "Salt Lake County Reader's Choice," I decided that this was a perfect time to check out the book. I finally got to it in October - and I'm glad I did!

The source of the title: The epigraph of the book is a poem from Emily Dickinson.

I started Early - Took my Dog -
And visited the Sea -
The Mermaids in the Basement
Came out to look at me -

Final thoughts: The overall book reminded me of Divine Secret of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. (I'm actually referring to the movie because I haven't - yet - read the book.) I haven't read any of West's other novels, but I definitely enjoyed this one.


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