Sailor Twain or The Mermaid in the Hudson by Mark Siegel (First Second, 2012)
Sailor Twain was on a lot of “Best Of” lists the year it was published. It has an average star rating on GoodReads of 3.81. All the people I know who have read it have loved it. So why didn’t I?
I wanted to give up reading Sailor Twain, but I didn’t because I felt like I was missing something and that eventually it would click. This is definitely one of those cases where there are a lot of things to love about Sailor Twain, and you just might like them, but for me, it just didn’t come together.
First, I was a little bit put off by the art style. This is a purely subjective assessment. The art isn’t bad, I just didn’t enjoy it as much as I do other styles. Siegel uses charcoal and some of his panels look much more finished than others. There’s also less opportunity for detail. A lack of connection with the art made it even harder to connect with the story, which I felt was too long and a little convoluted. I kept wondering if I was missing something. Is there a legend that I am not familiar with that was making this more confusing for me? Did I just not give the graphic novel the attention it deserved?
I’m pretty convinced that this is just a matter of taste. Sailor Twain isn’t bad, but it wasn’t for me, unfortunately. I’m not unhappy I finished it. There were some beautiful panels and moments when I truly appreciated the art style, even if it didn’t impress me as a whole. I feel the same way about the story. While it ultimately fell flat, there were great moments that made this, at least, a worthwhile read.