The Mermaid Chair Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Mermaid Chair

This story is about a lady who has so much to discover about her father's death and its relationship with her mother's mental condition This is the story of Jessie Sullivan, a middle aged woman who is married to a medical doctor and blessed with one daughter. Jessie's life seems to be on track until she receives news from her home town that her mother could be having a mental problem. Despite the poor relationship she has with her mother she is forced to go and while there she make discoveries that change the course of her life.
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First, she falls in love with a monk and this causes a strain in her marriage with Hugh. Then she realizes that her mother's mental condition has everything to do with her father's death. The third discovery which is the worst is that her father's death was not accidental.
Ever since her father's death, Jessie has been blaming herself for the accident since reporters had said that the fire on his boat was caused by a cigar. She has given him the cigar on his birthday but she never saw him smoke it. She had therefore been guilty about it until she realized that was not the case after all. The worst part was that her mother knew what was happening and even knew the "accident" would happen.
Best part of story, including ending: I like the fact that Jessie is able to handle her mother's condition despite their estranged relationship.

Best scene in story: My favorite scene is where Jessie discovers the Mermaid's chair in the monastery since this is where all answers to her questions lies

Opinion about the main character: I like the fact that after everything, Jessie reconciles with her mother and also manages to go back to her husband and daughter.

The review of this Book prepared by Zipporah a Level 4 Yellow-Headed Blackbird scholar

Chapter Analysis of The Mermaid Chair

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   thoughtful Time/era of story    -   1980's-1999 Family, caring for ill    -   Yes Who is sick?    -   Mother because he/she is    -   mentally ill Internal struggle/realization?    -   Yes Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Coping with loss of loved one(s)    -   Yes Loss of...    -   father

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   American Indian


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   2 () Island?    -   Yes Small town?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Amount of dialog    -   significantly more descript than dialog

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Sue Monk Kidd Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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