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Book Review: The Pisces: happiness, love, and... a merman?

September 22, 2018

The Pisces is a book about a woman who is trying to figure out what the hell we're supposed to be doing in this life. She is trying to figure out what love really is and whether we can ever be truly happy with what we have - or are we doomed to always want more? And, most importantly, are the people who say they're happy with what they have just straight up liars? She doesn't believe most of what people say, and constantly makes up her version of their truth in her mind.

 

Lucy is 38 years old, living in Phoenix, and has been working on her PhD almost nine years. She has broken up with her long-term boyfriend, Jamie, and loses her fucking mind. Or, at least, most of it. She's not consciously trying to ruin her life, but, after punching her ex-boyfriend in the nose at his doorstep (he doesn't press charges), she wakes up in her car with a massacred box of doughnuts on an apparent Ambien-fueled binge. Her sister, Annika, intervenes and gives her a job house-sitting while her and her husband are out of the country. Lucy is to attend a group therapy for love and sex addicts, work on her thesis, and care for Annika's house on Venice Beach and her beloved dog Dominic -- not a bad summer at all.

 

But Lucy can't manage any of it. When she arrives at group therapy she can't help but be sickened by the weak, weird, and crazy women in her group. She stereotypes them and makes assumptions about their lives and habits, all the time thinking she's far more superior and more worthy of love. So she skips out and turns to Tinder instead. She's still trying to get over Jamie who appears to have moved on so she moves on, seeking love in the form of sex from random men. She's attempting to fill the void within herself. But why is she empty? Why can't she ever be satisfied? Why wouldn't house-sitting on Venice Beach with a sweet little hound dog and unstructured days not be enough for a few months? 

 

Then she finds it. What she feels has been missing. Theo. The man she knows for a few nights only from the waist up. He's there waiting for her at night at the edge of the water, next to the rocks. She's drawn to him. He's beautiful. He's young. He appears to want her. And she needs him. She learns that he is actually a merman and that's perfectly fine. Whatever. She will absolutely do anything to have him. She will shed every single responsibility in her life to have him. She will think of only herself in order to make being with him forever a reality. 

But, will it make her happy? What does she have to give up in order to be with him? Does she care? 

 

Lucy's voice is so well-written. She said and thought the horrible things we often keep to ourselves in order to preserve the image others have of us. Ultimately, Lucy just wants love. But what does that even mean?

This book was great. It was horrible. It was cringey. It was sad. Ridiculous. I absolutely loved it. If you can handle a woman who is absolutely ridiculous, judgmental, unable to look herself in the mirror (both literally and metaphorically), and who does things that make you want to scream and shake her, then you might actually like this book. If you can't handle descriptive paragraphs of sex, mermen, animal neglect, and just plain meanness, then you should read something else!

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