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The Girl with the Mermaid Hair by Delia…

The Girl with the Mermaid Hair

by Delia Ephron

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What the fuck was the point to this book?? ( )
  Tarklovishki | Oct 31, 2014 |
A vain teenaged girl is obsessed with beauty and perfection until she uncovers a devastating family secret.
  Alice.rivera56 | Jun 11, 2012 |
I thought this book sounded quirky and interesting. While the second half of the book is okay, the first half is pretty painful to get through. This book is definitely not a fantasy at all (for some reason I thought it was) and is more of an over-characterized commentary on teen social disorders. I listened to this on audio book and the audiobook was very well done.

Sukie is very, very absorbed in her appearance. She is constantly agonizing over her reflection and taking "selfies" with her camera phone (pictures of her self). She is so absorbed with herself that she doesn't have time for friends, she only has time to be perfect and...lonely. Sukie has a mom as obsessed with her appearance as Sukie is and a dad who is a player, constantly trying to charm women who aren't her mother. As her family disintegrates around her, Sukie is forced to take time to decide what really matters.

The first half of this book is a bit bizarre. Probably three-quarters of the text is about Sukie looking at herself, perfecting herself. She is a girl with serious issues, her perfection is more important to her than the people around her. Sukie is obviously intelligent, she is top of her class; but lacks emotional intelligence. Many times you feel like slapping her. At points I was pressed to decide if this was supposed to be a humorous book or if Sukie was just really that clueless.

Things change when her mother comes home from the spa with a facelift (she went to get rid of her hideous nose which looked just like Sukie's) and Sukie finds out that her lovable dad is really a scumbag. With no one to turn to Sukie turns to her Grandmother's mirror and her dog for support. The mirror was supposed to be a fantastic element I think, but nothing all that odd or magical ever happens with it. In a bizarre turn Sukie's family is dependent on the dog's opinion of everything to make decisions; this was supposed to be another fantastic element but kind of fell flat for me.

Also Sukie spends a lot of time caught in romance novel quality fantasies about her and the quarterback Bobo; that are entirely unrealistic but strange characterizations of how Sukie thinks the ideal relationship would work.

Sukie's parents are caricatures of real types of stereotypical characters. As a reader you absolutely want to smack Sukie's mom for being so selfish and for what she has done to Sukie's perception of herself.

The second half of the book is more about Sukie's rebellion and her quest to find happiness. It is pretty much your typical teen-trying-to-fit-in type of story. The story ended up a pretty up note. The writing style was fine, nothing spectacular.

Overall this was your run of the mill story about a teen trying to find her place in life. The characters are almost clownish in their extremes and you will find yourself hard-pressed to sympathize with Sukie for most of the book. The writing was average and the story okay. Teens who are into these types are stories might dig this book; but beware there isn't much of a fantasy element to this book. I personally won't be checking out any more of Ephron's books. ( )
  krau0098 | Sep 23, 2010 |
Reviewed by Tasha for TeensReadToo.com

Sukie Jamieson is obsessed with her looks - and with herself. At every opportunity she gets, she looks at herself in a spoon, or takes a "selfie" with her cell phone, all to make sure she looks her best. When her mother gives her a gorgeous antique mirror that used to belong to her grandmother, Sukie is ecstatic. She is so ecstatic that she forgets to adhere to her mother's warning: "The mirror will be your best friend, but also your worst enemy."

As Sukie's year progresses, she learns that the mirror shows not only who you are up close, but also who you are on the inside. With these revelations, she sets off into the best and worst moments of her life, dealing with everything from family problems, to friendship dilemmas, but most of all, with who she really is as a person.

To be honest, I was not a fan of this book for the first half of the story. I felt that Sukie was really whiny and fake, caring too much about herself and not enough about those around her. Everything was really disconnected and confusing, but as soon as I hit the halfway mark the story got so much better. Sukie started to become aware of her surroundings and started turning into a real person. She even got my sympathy as she dealt with situations that anyone would find tough.

While the second half of THE GIRL WITH THE MERMAID HAIR was definitely the better half, the ending really sealed the deal for me that this was actually a good book. There was tons of emotion and it was great to see things fall into place. The crazy characters became a little less crazy, and you finally got to see the amount Sukie had grown throughout the story.

One thing I definitely have to give kudos to the author for is the characterization of Sukie's mom. Her mother was such a mean person that by the end of the book I really had an extreme dislike for her. For me, the fact that the author was able to make me feel this infuriated with a character is really neat, as it means she made her real.

In the end, this was a good story of friendship, loneliness, and finding the true beauty in yourself that is sometimes very hard to find. ( )
  GeniusJen | Mar 10, 2010 |
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A vain teenaged girl is obsessed with beauty and perfection until she uncovers a devastating family secret.

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