The Pisces by Melissa Broder
December 4, 2018
Dear Mr. Hemingway,
I just recently met a girl at my local bookstore. We talked quite a bit about our favorite books. At one point during our conversation, she recommended that I read The Pisces, by Melissa Broder. I was hesitant because I heard there was a merman (yes…a boy mermaid) in this adult fiction novel. Could I actually go there? Could I enjoy a present-day book with real humans and a mythical sea creature? Guess what? I was absolutely into this book, and here is why.
The Pisces is anything but a Disney movie. Let me back up briefly and give you the basic plot. Broder’s main character, Lucy, lives in Arizona where she is getting nowhere with her dissertation on the Greek poet, Sappho. Quickly into the story, she breaks up with her long term boyfriend and virtually hits rock bottom. In the spirit of re-grouping and needing a change, Lucy goes to live at her sister’s on Venice Beach for the summer. While there, she house sits for her traveling sister and cares for her dog. She also attends a love addiction therapy group where she attempts to deal with her unhealthy relationship issues and her lingering anxiety.
Here is where The Pisces gets interesting. Lucy is quite the character. You have to dig deep (and I mean real deep) to find any redeeming qualities in her. As much as you want to initially route for her happiness, it becomes almost impossible to not reach through the pages of the book and shake her silly. Her self absorption is show stopping when she visits her suicidal friend in the hospital. Lucy’s relationship with her sister’s dog will actually make you want to reach out to PETA (no joke). Her cringe worthy blind dates will have you squirming, especially during some of her raunchy sexual encounters with these hook ups from the internet. Most importantly, brace yourself for her relationship with the merman named Theo, who she meets down on the rocks at the beach. Even though her relationship with Theo has a Fifty Shades of Grey feel to it, it also may represent something much deeper than just hot merman sex.
What I truly love about Broder’s writing, is that it evokes plenty of emotions. Having her main character Lucy, narrate the story with her unfiltered thoughts, made this such a raw and authentic read. Yes, while reading this I was at times uncomfortable and my cheeks may have turned a bright shade of pink. However, it is good to read about unlikeable characters from time to time and push yourself out of your reading comfort zone. I am not even kidding you when I say that The Pisces is a perfect pick for your next book club gathering. It will most certainly spark lively conversation amongst friends! Pair that with some fabulous wine, and you‘ve got yourself a pretty fun evening! Happy reading!!!!!
Your Biggest Fan,
P.S. I read somewhere that when early European sailors first sailed the Caribbean, they initially thought that the manatees were mermaids when they saw them in the moonlight. When they eventually saw the manatees during the daylight, they were embarrassed that they thought these cow like creatures were “hot”, and pretended that they knew all along that these manatees were instead, just ugly mermen.