The Pisces by Melissa Broden | Book Review [spoiler free]

3/08/2020


When I saw this book in my library, I was torn. I'd heard such varying reviews on The Pisces by Melissa Broden, but the consensus is always either 'ew' or 'wtf?', no matter whether the reviewer had rated the novel 1 or 5 stars. Should that of intrigued me? Probably not, but alas, here we are. Seen as it was free to pick up (libraries are magical), I figured I'd give it a try. How did I get on?

At heart The Pisces is a book about obsessive love. In it we follow a recently heartbroken Lucy, who decides  to detach herself from her current life and go and dog sit her sisters dog Dominic in Miami for the Summer. Once there, she becomes a part of a support group for women who are addicted to romance, and spends her nights sitting on a rock near the ocean chatting with a swimmer. But what she doesn't realise is, he's a merman. And the sex is going to be amazing. Basically.

Yeah, this is technically Merman erotica. Which I kind of knew going in, but my faith in the authors ability to not make it icky kept me going. Initially I was going to read a few chapters, see where my thoughts were at, and decide if I wanted to continue. Regrettably, I did. Okay, I say that with a pinch of salt. I really did enjoy the first half of this novel, it was fast paced and though Lucy was a very unlikable character she was still better than all the characters in The Secret History by Donna Tartt, so I really wasn't fussed. Who doesn't love to read from the narrative of a bitch every now and again? Hello Blair Waldorf and Petra Solano. It gave me vague Valley Of The Dolls vibes which I think we have already established my love for (not idea what I'm talking about? Check out my review HERE). I enjoyed her interactions with the other women in her group, and even found some humour in her truly terrible hook-up dates. However, once her and the Merman got together the novel ran into a whole field of crazy. Not only were the sex scenes questionable in comparison to the earlier ones that albeit were pretty gross, were at the very least realistic. Now we were reading about a merman licking up her menstrual blood and reading about her fantasies of cutting up his tail, cooking his flesh, and eating it with garlic butter. I lost count of how many times I stopped to read aloud some of the truly terribly written paragraphs and descriptions to my husband.



Have you ever read a book wherein a character works in an important profession; medical training, science, astronomy, etc, and the author tries to make it sound so convincing, and tries to make the character seem so knowledgeable in their work that it truly comes across as pure nonsense? This is how I felt during every single scene where Lucy was working on her thesis. Some sentences didn't make any sense and her 'epitomises' read like Joey's letter to the adoption agency in Friends. I really don't think the author knew what the hell she was writing about at times, instead trying to subtly get off the subject and somehow tying it into our protagonists horny nature. Though it sounds harsh, I think the author had a good idea for a smutty novel and instead tried to make into something it's not - good writing.

My other big problem with this novel was the problematic elements. Twice the protagonist compared the Merman's movements to a paraplegic trying to sit upright, which she commented was "cute". And the overall lack of anything resembling feminism was astounding for a novel that was released in 2018. I get that was kind of the point with the whole support group, but Lucy's lack of self respect of both herself and other women never changed. Also, a huge part of the book was her neglecting the dog she was sitting for which could be rather hard to read, so please take a trigger warning for animal abuse from this review. If that greatly upsets you, stay far away from this.


So, yeah. Objectively this was truly an awful book in both the story and writing. I did quite enjoy the first half, it was a pure guilty-pleasure and a great palette cleanser after I'd been reading heavy books all last month, but I can't in good consciousness recommend this to anyone. The cover is the only thing it has going for it.

What was the last book you read that disappointed you?

Post a comment

Latest Instagrams

© Rooting Branches. Design by FCD.