Book Review: Splash by Ian Don

Hi everyone! I hope you’re all well. It’s Friday, which means it’s time for another review, and today, I am reviewing the novelisation of the hit movie Splash by Ian Don.

Splash by Ian Don was first published in June 1984 by Star and is 144 pages long.

As a child, Allen Bauer jumps overboard while touring Cape Cod on a boat with his family and moments before he is pulled to safety, he meets a young girl in the water. Many years later, the two are reunited and fall in love without Alan knowing who she is.

Allen Bauer
Allen runs a successful fresh fruit and vegetable business with his brother Freddie, though his success in finding love is a different story. His difficulty finding the right partner leaves him feeling unhappy and lost, and he worries that he will never be able to find love. That is, of course, until he meets Madison when he falls off a motor boat and is knocked unconscious, waking up with her naked form hovering over him.

Madison is the central character of the story. She is a mermaid whose tail transforms into a pair of legs when dry. Once out of the water, she only has six days on land. If she stays any longer, then she will never be able to return home.

After first meeting Allen Bauer as a child, she meets him again when she pulls his unconscious body out of the ocean. She watches from behind the dunes to make sure he’s all right, and when he spots her, she heads back towards the water, turning back to give him a quick kiss before running into the waves.

After saving Allen from drowning, she endeavours to search him out on dry land thanks to his wallet, which he dropped when he fell overboard.

Once she’s back beneath the surface, she retrieves Allen’s wallet and heads to a sunken shipwreck where she takes out an old rolled-up map of the United States, searching for the place called New York, the exact words written on Allen’s credit card.

When she finally makes it to New York and Allen, they fall in love, and Madison attempts to hide the fact that she is a Mermaid.
When her secret is discovered, her worst fears are realised when a shocked Allen rejects her.

Once her secret is out, Madison is apprehended by some government agents who take her to a secret lab where she is to be examined. She is miserable. That is until Allen, who, after talking things over with his brother, realises that he’s still madly in love with her and concocts a plan to rescue her.

Freddie Bauer
Freddie is Allen’s brother, who helps him run the fruit and vegetable business. He’s a humorous character, and his jokes add a light-hearted element to the narrative. Although he is quite the womaniser, he is a lovable goofball who is a loyal and supportive brother who genuinely cares about Allen, even going so far as to impersonate a Swedish scientist so that he can enter the lab where Madison is being held and help to smuggle her out.

Walter Kornbluth
Walter Kornbluth is an eccentric scientist who has made it his mission to prove the existence of Mermaids, and after seeing her while scuba diving, he is obsessed with capturing Madison, so he can prove that she is the real deal.

He goes to great lengths to get his proof, finally getting it when he infiltrates a Presential dinner attended by Allen and Madison and hoses her with water triggering her transformation into a mermaid.

Later when Madison is taken to the lab by the government agents, Kornbluth realises that his cold-hearted rival, Dr Ross, will be dissecting her, causing him to regret his actions. After all, he never wanted her to come to any actual harm; he only wanted to prove that he wasn’t losing his mind.

Guilt-ridden over being the reason for Madison’s capture, he decides to help Allen and Freddie rescue her.

Writing Style
The book is a pleasant and easy read, with the story remaining close to the movie. There are little extensions to scenes and a couple of extra bits and pieces here and there, but it’s essentially the movie in book form, which is what you’d expect in a novelisation.

The descriptions are wonderfully written, allowing you to see the scenes clearly in your mind. So much so that if you haven’t seen the movie, you’d still be able to recreate the settings to a close approximation in your head. It’s a far superior novelisation compared with others I’ve read (I’m looking at you, The Fifth Element).

I will say that the book is a tad more adult than the movie version in a few ways. For one thing, Madison is way more sexual in the book, and there are one or two scenes in the movie which are a bit more full-on in the novel version.

None of this detracts from the story in any way, but readers should be advised that whereas the movie is rated PG, the book is more of a 12+.

Final Thoughts
I have always been captivated by stories of Mermaids, so it won’t surprise you to learn that my favourite fairy tale is and always was – The Little Mermaid. The story of a world under the water always seemed so magical to me, and I developed a ravenous appetite when I was a kid for all things mermaid related, be it books, movies, or cartoons.

My dad, bless him, saw the wonderment in my eyes when we rented Disney’s The Little Mermaid when I was about six. From then on, he’d watch out for Mermaid-themed movies coming up on TV and record them on a blank VHS cassette (‘member those?). The first of those movies I remember seeing is Splash. I loved it. I was obsessed. I watched it almost every day (along with Miranda and its sequel Mad About Men). Later, when Splash, Too, Splash’s less glossy TV-movie-sequel was released, I even fell in love with that.

Years later, whilst scrolling the net, I discovered that there was a Novelisation of Splash, and I hunted high and low for a copy that was A, in English and B, didn’t cost 20 Gajillion pounds to buy. Recently, however, I was browsing on and there, when I searched for novelisations, was ‘Splash’. I immediately ordered a copy (which was also very reasonably priced), and here we are!

I am giving Splash by Ian Don a 10/10.

Have you read this novelisation? What did you think?

As always, thanks so much for reading my review!

Until next time,


© 2023 GLT

Categories: Book Reviews, Reading

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1 reply


  1. Book Review: The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen – GEORGE L THOMAS

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