Swim to Me
Bantam, $5.99, Aug 26 2008
In 1973, seventeen years old Delores Walker leaves her troubled family home in the Bronx. She takes the bus heading south where she obtains work as a mermaid at Weeki Wachee Springs in Florida, which she believes is a miracle of sorts as she is not pretty.
Shockingly, Delores becomes the star somewhat because she is nice and displays enthusiasm in her work and somewhat her imagination with productions like the Merfather spoof brings in audiences who had been going toDisney. Her peers think she is the best and anyone who gets to know her feels likewise. TV producer Alan Sommers sees a chance to work with a human interest story angle on the most popular mermaid, but needs to muddy up the water perhaps with skeletons from the Bronx. Delores tries to remain true to her kind self as she becomes almost famous as a local TV “weatherwoman” and the invasion of the extended Walker family, but is grateful for wise mentoring by gentle circus giant T. Rex and mermaid attraction owner Thelma Foote.
This is an entertaining character study held in focus by Delores, a likable star attraction. The caring Delores turns the lonely, slick and ambitious into being kinder and friendlier as everyone including readers (with the exception perhaps of her runaway father) feels her warmth and subsequently a need to change. Betsy Carter provides an uplifting historical that brings to life the impact of Disneyworld on 1970s Florida.