THE GIRL WITH THE MERMAID HAIR by DELIA EPHRON
This book lured me in with young Sukie’s eerie obsession with her new mirror. Well, old mirror. It’s an heirloom from her grandmother, gorgeous, except for the cracks that appear from no known cause and work their way across the surface over the course of the story.
Ephron takes a surreal, magical realism approach to a teenage girl’s emotional struggles. I’ll admit the style of this book is not to my taste. Everything feels too loosely connected for me, like an abstract painting. We have simple characters, a vague setting, and pieces of a plot that link together more by Sukie’s emotional journey than anything else. However, I see the appeal in the story nonetheless and would highly recommend it for fans of Francesca Lia Block.
Sukie’s infatuation with her mirror is probably what I liked most about this story, especially the metaphorical subtext. In truth, I can’t easily tell you what this book is about other than being a teenager and using the mirror as a metaphor for truth. Sukie doesn’t always like what she sees reflected in the mirror, but, she figures, mirrors don’t lie. Except perhaps cracked ones do. I confess as a long-time fantasy reader I immediately spotted the fairy tale twist potential of this theme and hoped for something of that nature, but Ephron takes the story in another direction.