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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Mermaid of Brooklyn by Amy Shearn {book tour + giveaway}

The Mermaid of Brooklyn

author: Amy Shearn
publisher: Touchstone
source: TLC Book Tours
soft cover: 368 pages

"foodie" elements: Not necessarily a foodie-novel, but there are moments where food and/or drink are mentioned...enough to inspire.

random excerpt: I squinted at Betty and Charlie, playing nicely together for once, even if they were sculpting a disturbingly phallic sand castle.  Sometimes I thought I had the kind of brain that had no right being near kids.  the other day at the Y play space, I'd heard a mom call out, "NO LICKING BALLS!" and I'd almost lost it completely.  It was terrible.  I'm not saying it wasn't terrible.  p. 165


Formerly an up-and-coming magazine editor, Jenny Lipkin is now your average, stretched-too-thin Brooklyn mom, tackling the challenges of raising two children in a cramped Park Slope walk-up. All she really wants is to survive the sweltering New York summer with a shred of sanity intact. But when her husband, Harry, vanishes one evening, Jenny reaches her breaking point. And in a moment of despair, a split-second decision changes her life forever.

Pulled from the brink by an unexpected ally, Jenny is forced to rethink her ideas about success, motherhood, romance, and relationships. But confronting her inner demons is no easy task. . .

my thoughts/review:  Here's the thing about me - when I read, I like to be transported.  I want a getaway. It's basically my "me time".  I love a day like today (warm sun, cool breeze) with nobody around but me and the people on the pages of a good book.  The Mermaid of Brooklyn is a mish-mash of reality and fantasy stitched like a favorite pair of jeans.  That means comfortably, people.

I don't think that there is a mother out there, stay-at-home or working, that hasn't felt some gradient of the feelings that Jenny has in this book.  From the sheer adoration of those perfect little angels that sprung forth from your loins to the (momentary) need to throw yourself off a bridge to escape the insanity that is your life...wanting (deserving) the acknowledgment for the never-ending job that you have...basking in the joy it feels to be desired...remembering what your life was like and who you were before you were a wife, a mom...

I loved every minute of this story. I felt like I could be friends with Jenny.  Like I could sit down next to her and Laura on a blanket in the park and people-watch with one eye while baby-watching with the other.  I actually "got" her.  I almost wanted a mermaid, a rusalka, to share my skin and force me to tackle uncomfortable situations head-on and to remind me not only who I was, but who I am.

Recommended reading for moms (especially stay-at-home moms), or women, in general who enjoy fiction, chick-lit, and a bit of fantasy or science fiction.

about the author:  Amy Shearn is the author of How Far Is the Ocean from Here. She is a graduate of the University of Iowa and the University of Minnesota’s MFA program. Her work has appeared in Real Simple, Martha Stewart Living, The Millions, Poets & Writers, The L Magazine, Opium, and Five Chapters, and she writes for and She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children.

further info: websitefacebook | twitter

recipe inspired by the book:  I really wanted to make a dish inspired by this book...HOWEVER, life got in the way.  I haven't had a whole lot of free time lately - and unfortunately no rusalka to jump in and give me a I was last-minute reading.  Enjoying every minute, I might add.  If I had given myself just a day or two extra, I probably would have made a pizza from scratch, the crust studded with sexy roasted and caramelized garlic cloves and topped with spinach, fennel-studded Italian sausage, and maybe even some more garlic in honor of Jenny's first act of her new life: ordering pizza. Here was the passage that inspired me:

"We're ordering a pizza," I said.  So there.  Betty bugged her eyes out and then shrieked, "YAYYY!" galloping around the apartment.  I never ordered in.  It was a favorite indulgence of Harry's but one I always felt about about, what with the expense and the ease and the inevitable waste, so we ended up ordering Harry's favorites and never mine.  forget it.  I let the guilty tightness go, like the unwanted thoughts I was never able to release when commanded to in yoga.  Whooosh.  "With spinach and garlic," I added, "because that's how I like it."  Betty wrinkled her nose, but when it came, she wolfed down her slice happily.

     And that was the first act of my new life.  Ordering pizza.

     Hey, you have to start somewhere.  p. 99-100

GIVEAWAY (this giveaway has ended)
Would you like to win a copy of this novel?  It would make a great book to throw in your bag for bus, taxi, or train reading...maybe passing time in a waiting room or waiting car...or to sit outside and enjoy the beautiful Spring weather...or save for the beach.  If you live in the USA or Canada, you've got just that chance!  Simply leave a comment on this post letting me know one of the best books you've read (or dreamed of having time to read) lately!  All submissions are due by 11:59 pm (ET) on 05/06/13.  I will choose a winner via random draw from all submissions and notify that winner via email (who will have 48 hours to respond).  Please be sure to enter your email address, so that I have a way of contacting you. Good Luck!

update 5/7/13: Congratulations to the winner of the book, I have sent you an email - Enjoy!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm craving pizza.  Pizza with all of MY favorite toppings.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, and the publisher is providing another copy for the giveaway.  All thoughts and opinions stated in this post are 100% mine.  This post contains Amazon affiliate links.