A review by amandagstevens
The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen


What the heck did I just read?

I didn't go into this clueless. I knew this would be nothing like the Disney movie. In fact, I knew mostly everything
Spoileri.e. the walking on knives thing and the unrequited love thing and the dies brokenhearted and turns into sea foam thing ... did not know about the tongue being cut out thing
. Why did I read it anyway? Because this work, for some reason, is on the Best Books of the 19th Century list. Also because the year is almost over and I hadn't read anything from the 1825-1850 block yet (yeah, I keep track of stuff like that), and it's short and public domain a.k.a. free for Kindle.

But even knowing most of the twisted stuff, I'm surprised by the futility of this story. I'm trying to figure out the point of it all; fairy tales were morality tales, right? So the moral here is not to be dissatisfied with your place in life. Or not to give up sure things and true people for unsure things and unknown people. Or hey kids, please be good so the sea foam spirits can get their immortal souls already.

The writing and descriptions are beautiful. But the story ... I'm not even a happily-ever-after reader, but this is so dark. Not meaningless, though. The mermaid's headlong choices hold cautionary meaning, to be sure. Perhaps this is a sort of foil to tales like The Wizard of Oz. The little mermaid learns too that there's no place like home. But she learns too late.