on July 17th 2018
Sweetness can be deceptive.
She’s the sweet-but-silent angel in the adoring eyes of her Daddy. He’s the only person who understands her, and all Hanna wants is to live happily ever after with him. But Mommy stands in her way, and she’ll try any trick she can think of to get rid of her. Ideally for good.
She loves her daughter, really, but after years of expulsions and strained home schooling, her precarious health and sanity are weakening day by day. As Hanna’s tricks become increasingly sophisticated, and Suzette's husband remains blind to the failing family dynamics, Suzette starts to fear that there’s something seriously wrong, and that maybe home isn’t the best place for their baby girl after all.
Little girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice, right? Thats what Suzette thought too…
If you’re a fan of thrillers, you’ve undoubtedly seen BABY TEETH everywhere over the past couple of weeks. It certainly one of the most hyped of the summer. Ninety percent of Goodreads reviewers rate this book between three and five stars. It obviously has a lot going for it. I’m not surprised, however, that it has also proved to be a very polarizing read. There is something deeply disturbing about a mother being afraid of her own daughter and a daughter that really, truly want to harm her mother.
As many of you know, I’m a nurse by profession, though I’ve not worked since the birth of my daughter. My own professional experience did have some impact on my experience with this book. I have actually met mothers who are afraid of their children and it’s not an easy thing to deal with. It’s extremely difficult to find resources for these families and they are often afraid of seeking voluntary services through DCF. It’s the ultimate Catch-22. I, therefore, admit to approaching this book with some trepidation mixed into the intrigue. I reasoned with myself that all thrillers contain at least one character with behavioral health issues and asked myself why it should be different that, in this case, the character is a child. After reading this book, I came up with something that’s admittedly not terribly scholarly or profound: IT JUST IS! We are conditioned to look at children as innocents; blank slates that, with the proper nurturing, will blossom into loving and contributing members of society. Baby Teeth forces us to reexamine that notion.
The moment I began Baby Teeth, I didn’t want to put it down. Despite, or maybe because of, the feeling it gave me in the pit of my stomach, I was compelled to keep turning the pages. I thought it was very well-written all-around—well developed characters, chill factor, and multiple points of view which worked very, very well. There were one or two times I had difficulty with implausibility but there was enough that’s (even more scarily!) plausible here that the balance remained in the book’s favor.
I would argue that the very disturbing nature of this book is the exact reason that you *should* read it. It will give you lots of food for thought and make for interesting discussion material, to be sure. And let’s face it, you don’t want to have FOMO. Seriously, everyone is reading this book!
Baby Teeth is Zoje Stage’s debut novel. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next. I will definitely read her future work.
ENTER THE GIVEAWAY ON MY INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT!
Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press for providing a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.