Rosa Guy - My Love, My Love, or the Peasant Girl

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The Modern Mermaid

Jun 28, 2000
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Beautiful prose, interesting story

Cons:It doesn't end Disney-style!

This beautifully-written story is an interesting modern rendition of Hans Christian Anderson's "The Little Mermaid" and compared together, bring about important comparisons. They share the same main ideas, yet the distinct difference that help emphasize the different themes expressed by both stories.

In My Love, My Love, the teenaged dreamer here is named Desiree Dieu-Donne, an island Ti Moune (or orphan) who, while without parents, is raised by her affectionate adoptive parents, Tonton Julian and Mam Euralie. Just like the character namesake in "The Little Mermaid," Desiree's life is changed when she falls in love with a comely young prince, Daniel Beauxhomme, a youthful rich mulatto who she nurses back to health after he is in a car accident. Daniel, just like the mermaid's prince, is of a different world, and not meant to be a love interest at all, and Daniel, just like the prince, must return to his old world, taking with him the simplistic heart of his young lover.

Both girls in these stories go to extreme lengths to be reunited with their sweethearts. Desiree leaves her family and village and places her life in the blood-stained hands of Papa Ge, the island's horrid messenger of the sea. An interesting feminist symbol is utilized as Desiree, forced to wear a new pair of shoes, endures the immense pain in her feet even though each step was "a new experience in torture." While the mermaid gives over her voice for freedom, Desiree is a mute in her own sense since she knows not the languages of the foreign diplomats.

The interloper who moves in the way of the two "star-cross'd lovers" in both stories is everything the protagonist is not: confident, articulate, and rich. Desiree, like the mermaid, realizes that she has endangered her life over a man who looks lost to her.

Hidden in My Love, My Love is the sometimes sad and total cost of challenging established circumstances and status quo. It shows how high the price can be for selfless love.

It is interesting to note the commonalities between "The Little Mermaid" and this modern rendition. Throughout, there are subtle, and less-than-subtle allusions to that well-loved, later-Disney-fied classic. Just note the allusion made by one of the characters, Mama Euralie: "She [Desiree] gives up her honor to this man, born of a world as different from hers as land is from the sea."

For good comparisons and a more interesting reading experience, read this novel after, or alongside, the version of Hans Christian Anderson (and no, it is quite different from Disney's cartoon!). I recommend this for adolescents and adults, as well as anyone interesting in modernized fairy tales, or in the true non-Disney versions of the stories we love.


Recommend this product? Yes


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