Top critical review
7 people found this helpful
A bit tacky
on 5 July 2013
My first impressions of this book were that a) It was a lot smaller than I'd expected (have hardbacks really got that tiny these days?!), and b) That it looks more like something that should be called Mermaid Diaries or Dolphin Days and made for ten year-olds. Taking the dust jacket off helped with this, as the book itself is a beautiful, solid navy cover with silver writing on the spine, but unfortunately the impression given by the design on the sleeve actually reflects the content inside.
It seems this book is confused. On the one hand it claims to be a reference book, or 'introductory class' teaching about the history and mythology of mermaids; but on the other it's a happy-clappy-hippy book about the author's indulgence in 'mermaiding'. Seriously, there are awful pictures of her dressed as a mermaid, including one where she's playing a guitar in a swimming pool, digitally edited to look cool. (This particular page is captioned "Combining my two hobbies of playing guitar and mermaiding.", I'm not just exaggerating the matter!).
The pages are glossy, and a confusing mix of beautiful hand-drawn illustrations and paintings vs. tacky print on coloured pages (the sort expected to be seen in a joke book or 100 best tips for) and painfully photoshopped underwater scenery/women in mermaid costumes/animated mermaids made to look real but failing to do so. Which is a pity, because if the book stuck to just one form of style, it could be a real gem. And that's without eliminating the awful adverts at the back for various mind-body-spirit-healing media.
In conclusion, the book is far more aimed at "tapping into your inner mermaid" spiritual hobbies, than an enthusiast looking to educate themselves on the folk-lore and history of mermaids. Don't get me wrong, it's got some interesting facts in it (mostly at the beginning of the book, and nestled between horrible digital images repeating chapter-heading subjects) and does reference a lot of different mermaid origins from throughout time. It just isn't as educative on the subject as the title implies. So if you're actually interested in learning about the mythology and origins of mermaid existence, I'd highly recommend 'Mermaids, The Myths, Legends, & Lore' by Skye Alexander instead. But if you want a more slapdash, contemporary, colourful and casual book about mermaiding as a spiritual hobby with a bit of background information mixed in, then this is the book for you.