About Me

My photo
Niagara on the Lake, Ontario, Canada
My virtue is that I say what I think, my vice that what I think doesn't amount to much.

Sunday, March 23, 2014


I've had this book for many years and finally pulled it off the shelf not knowing what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised. 
Written by mother and daughter team Linda and Esta Spalding the novel tells the story of a thirteen-year-old girl, Mere, who has spent her entire life on board a boat named the Persephone with her mother, Faye, and Mark, 16. When Faye was younger she took part in political protests and smuggled Vietnam War era draft dodgers into Canada. She doesn't dare set foot on land for long because she fears that the F.B.I. is still looking for her. Mark also has a murky background and it is revealed that he had killed his younger brother by accident before Faye scooped him up. The Persephone stops in Toronto from time to time to pick up supplies. This time Merril, Mere’s father, shows up for the first time in many years.

The book is a modern re-telling of the Persephone myth written by a mother and daughter. As Mere/Persephone becomes a young woman all hell breaks loose. Merril/Hades arrives with his dog/Cerberus. One moment Mere was there and then she wasn't. She is held at Merril's beautiful home but wants to be back on the boat. Faye/ Demeter is inconsolable and sends Mark to rescue Mere.

It's a very short novel but it packs a lot into 220 pages. Mere is about the strength of the mother-daughter bond. It also offers a window into the Vietnam War era, the politics and the freewheeling lives of young people at that time. It builds to a strong ending that is unexpected and inconclusive and left me with a lot of questions. Definitely worth a read.

No comments: