TGFMB – Thank Goodness for Melissa Broder. Sometimes you come across a novel that completely entrances you, baffles you, and eventually guts you with surprises you just didn’t fathom possible.
Lucy has been writing her dissertation about Sappho for thirteen years when she and Jamie break up. After she hits rock bottom in Phoenix, her Los Angeles-based sister insists Lucy housesit for the summer—her only tasks caring for a beloved diabetic dog and trying to learn to care for herself. Annika’s home is a gorgeous glass cube atop Venice Beach, but Lucy can find no peace from her misery and anxiety—not in her love addiction group therapy meetings, not in frequent Tinder meetups, not in Dominic the foxhound’s easy affection, not in ruminating on the ancient Greeks. Yet everything changes when Lucy becomes entranced by an eerily attractive swimmer one night while sitting alone on the beach rocks.
Whip-smart, neurotically funny, sexy, and above all, fearless, The Pisces is built on a premise both sirenic and incredibly real—what happens when you think love will save you but are afraid it might also kill you.
I oddly liked this book. It’s about a woman named Lucy who has spent her adult life writing a dissertation on Sappho and her love songs and how they exist in a world where most of the meaning and song has been erased with time. She uses her knowledge of Greek mythology to help with her current love life. Lucy is recently heartbroken. In an attempt to quell those feelings of shortcomings from a relationship she felt like was the end-all, be-all, she accidentally attempts suicide. This prompts her to head to Venice Beach in California to gain some wanted perspective and try and sow her own roots.
While there, of course, trouble ensues as she meets a magical man in the ocean and starts her own tumultuous relationship with him.
This has got to be the most honest book on female sexuality. Perhaps the perception many people have is that women just want love and connection when they’re sleeping with someone. For many, that’s true, but what also needs to be understood is that women are also sexual creatures who are sometimes in it for the sex.
You get a glimpse of this life when Lucy starts going on Tindr dates and meeting some men who don’t necessarily meet her standards for sex, but give her an outlet she didn’t have before. You also see this with the support group meetings she attends through the various other folks who “suffer” from love obsession. You read Lucy’s thoughts and resonate with the same feelings and thoughts she has within yourself. Honestly, if you’ve ever reflected on yourself and your life on your own, then you know exactly how Lucy feels.
I’ve read smutty books in the past. Some were great and others made me giggle uncontrollably, but the smut in this book was visceral and very “in-your-face.” Melissa Broder doesn’t pepper her book with clever ways of explaining how sex happens. It just happens and sometimes it’s not the picture-perfect situation. I loved how serious she took the sex and how serious she took everything else even with the thin veil of self-deprecation and sarcasm.
I wouldn’t really consider this a romantic read, but I can’t be sure. I don’t read enough romance to know the difference. But what I can be sure of is Lucy’s feelings and experiences. While I may not know what it feels like to love a merman, I do know the desperation of losing your supposed true love. It’s the jarring feeling of having one certain kind of life and then having that life completely disappear.
It’s been a while since someone took magical realism and threw it on its head. While the only magical realism in this book is the merman and its existence, the rest of the novel is filled with tons of quips, a lot of self-deprecation, and a lot of judging other people for who they are and how they act. While we all want to say that we’re not this person, some small part of us knows that we act this way and we’re no better or worse than Lucy.
The biggest part of this novel, which is so cleverly built into the story is mental health. Since this is Mental Health Awareness Month, I thought it was appropriate to read this book! Lucy starts off by attending a love/sex obsession support group. While in the group, Lucy carefully explains the issues each of the members face when it comes to love. Some people are completely oblivious to what they do to sabotage themselves while others feel a lack of love from their current partners and find themselves looking elsewhere.
One of my favorite parts of this book is the voice. Melissa Broder is able to write with the mindset of the generation who will be reading this book. It’s a book for a very specific person and that person is everywhere. And the truth of the world is that even a merman won’t save you from yourself.
- Hardcover, 270 pages
- Hogarth Publishing (May 1, 2018)
- My Rating: 4/5 stars
- Buy The Pisces on Amazon
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley for free in exchange for an honest review. My opinions have not been influenced by the publisher or the author.
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