I am a huge fan of retellings. I love everything about them – the original tales, the ways that the new ones interact with the old, and, above all, their immense possibility. Sea Foam and Silence is absolutely no exception and takes The Little Mermaid above and beyond, elevating it way over the original for me.
I am going to take the summary from Goodreads, because it is written in verse, like the entire novel, and I do not want to mess with the exquisite beauty: Be careful what you wish for…
She warned of the pain. She did.
But no warning can prepare you.
How could I have known
What it is like on the dry sand?
We just watched.
It’s hard, not being able to ask
Questions, though I have learned some speech
With my hands. ˆ_ˆ
I miss my sisters.
I have made friends here.
I have laughed with them,
Learned with them, played with them.
I love them.
She said I would die if he loves someone else.
Will I die? At the beginning I wanted to. It hurts
So much. Life isn’t easy, will never be easy, but…
I don’t want to become sea foam.
This has quickly become be my favorite verse novel. The writing is not only tender, but there is a wisdom to it. We have moments of intense innocence, paired with the realization that sometimes we are searching for things we don’t know the names for. In this instance, verse novel is a fabulous way for The Little Mermaid to get a whole new pair of legs.
What I love about Sea Foam and Silence is its cleverness. Not only is the title intelligent, but the entire book has all these references if you know where to look. This book introduces more choices, more diversity, and, on some levels, a hint of extra violence, but it makes it a fantastic retelling for those who grew up with the tale. The main character is asexual, and not only is this refreshing to see, but it’s dealt with in a way that is wonderfully done. I loved watching this verse novel unfold before my eyes, and the time flew by as I read.
We are older now, and ready to see it in the full light of day, exposed for what it is. And here, O’Connacht delivers. We are transported back to the character we loved, her innocence and curiosity, but also we see her naivety and the rebellious nature of her actions.
Sea Foam and Silence is lyrical in more ways than one and it truly updates the classic in a way that proves the possibility of re-imagined stories. There is a new life, a brilliance, and a stunning quality in these words that make you remember what it felt like to watch it for the first time. Not only that, but O’Connacht takes us closer to the original tales, incorporating the sea foam touch, and with that the dangers and necessity of learning. Check out Sea Form and Silence on Goodreads.