Quick Review: Sirena, by Donna Jo Napoli
In Napoli's novel, mermaids are not cruel creatures who take joy in leading sailors to their death with their enchanting and mesmerizing voices, but desperate creatures in need of being loved by a human. Sirena, the protagonist, and her sisters sing in hope that one day a man will love them and therefore make them as immortal as their cousins the nymphs. But when tragedy strikes, Sirena leaves her sister and decides to live on her own around the island of Lemnos, where she meets Philolectes, love and possibly happiness. That is until the prospect of the Trojan war falls upon them and threatens to ruined everything.
Sirena is a sweet love story. Written in a sparse and simple, often beautiful, prose it wraps several myths together to create a story of love and loss, but also of self-integrety. Sirena, contrary to Andersen's Little Mermaid, or Disney's Ariel, does not desire to be what she is not. She does not want to change, does not want to give parts of herself away in the hope that a human will love her. She wants to be loved exactly for who she is, and even when she has doubts and fears she always try to stay true to herself and what she believes in. She does not desire to be human, only to be loved by one. This aspect, more than anything else in the story, made me appreciate, and enjoy, Napoli's novel.