Review: The Pisces by Melissa Broder

tpsPublication: May 1st 2018
Publisher: Hogarth Press
Pages:  270 pages
Source: Bookmobile
Genre: Fiction, Romance, Psychological, Humour
My Rating: ⛤⛤.5

CONTENT WARNING: ANIMAL ABUSE

“I don’t know that we are ever really okay in life, but there are times when we feel closer to it – when we don’t remember what it feels like to suffer,” (Broder 41).

This book was a disappointment. I haven’t had a “don’t judge a book by its cover” moment in a long while so reading The Pisces was a good reminder of that. But can you really blame me? It was swimming around (HA) on bookstagram, and the vague knowledge I had of the book was that it was about a woman who falls in love with a merman. It sounded cool, and while that vague description isn’t wrong, the book has a lot more to it that doesn’t make it any more interesting.

Frustrated with her boyfriend Jamie and feeling like she is drifting away from him, Lucy gives an empty threat of a break-up which he takes as a good idea and the nine-year relationship Lucy cherished is gone for good. Lucy spirals out of control goes to stay at her sister’s house in Los Angeles where she is to take care of her sister’s dog Dominic and go to a therapy group for women dependent on relationships and addicted to sex. These two things are much too difficult for Lucy to follow while she preoccupies herself with Tinder dates from hell and trying to finish her thesis on Sappho that has taken her thirteen years to write. But one night on the rocks by the beach Lucy meets Theo, a merman, who changes the course of her life.

I don’t really know where to start, this book was bad. I found Lucy to be an incredibly pathetic character whose dependence on men sickened me. I know this book is marketed as humourous, but Lucy’s character terrified me and turned this book into more of a horror story. I mean, SHE KILLS HER SISTER’S DOG SO THAT HER MERMAN BOYFRIEND WILL HAVE SEX WITH HER! I really couldn’t feel sympathetic for her during the story.

I also just didn’t get the humour of this book. It’s raunchy, which can be fun in the right circumstances, but Broder just doesn’t do it right. Some reviewers enjoy the humour because of its honesty, which I completely understand, but there is such a thing as too much honesty. I mean, the book opens with Lucy talking about how much comfort she gets picking up her sister’s dog’s poop. Talk about having some serious problems.

The one thing this book has for it has a ton of memorable quotes, which really only made the book more disappointing in the end. How can a book with so many good quotes be such a letdown?

Overall, The Pisces is a book I would have skipped if I had the chance. Try to read a preview if you can to see if this book is for you or not, but if you do feel the need to read it just get it from the library. I’m glad I did.

Favourite Quotes:

“But sometimes I longed for total annihilation in it – a beautiful, silent erasure. A desire to be vanished,” (Broder 4).

“If they had tasted the nausea of not knowing why we are here or who we are, or if they had not, now they were willfully and successfully ignoring it,” (Broder 5).

“What a luxury of someone who looked at the ravaged of time and went, ‘Eh.'” (Broder 9).

“I had always thought of depression as having no shape. When it manifested as a feeling of emptiness, you could inject something into: a 3 Musketeers, a walk, something to kind of give it a new form. You could penetrate it and give it more of a shape you feel better about. Or at least you could make a shape inside it or around it,” (Broder 21).

“Did anyone ever say that life was to be enjoyed and not suffered? What if suffering was the point?” (Broder 38).

“You had to fall in love with quiet first,” (Broder 43).

“Yes, it certainly seemed like a human instinct, to get high on someone else, an external entity who could make life more exciting and relieve you of your own self, your own life, even for just a moment,” (Broder 119).

“Since my mother’s death I had been mistrustful of love, or anything, really, that came too easily, as though it were fool’s gold and could one day, just like she did, disappear,” (Broder 121).

“I suppose that whenever you’re addicted to something, this is what they mean when they say you forget about the consequences and don’t care about the other side. All I cared about was my plan,” (Broder 151).

“We turn them into who we want them to be. We fill in their bodies and words for them,” (Broder 164).

“You never think, in your fantasies, that the object of the fantasy can be hurt,” (Broder 209).

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