By Zoje Stage
St. Martin’s Press, 9781250170750, July 2018, 320pp.
The Short of It:
Impossible to put down.
The Rest of It:
Hanna is seven-years old and has not said a word to anyone. Ever. Concerned, her parents take her for testing but there is no physical reason for her lack of speech. When it’s suggested to Hanna’s mother Suzette that perhaps it’s a behavioral issue, Alex, Hanna’s father doesn’t want to believe it. Suddenly, out of the blue, Hanna says something to Suzette but instead of excitement, Suzette feels dread because the words that come out of Hanna’s mouth are quite disturbing.
Oh! There is so much going on in this one. Hanna is fiercely attached to her father which makes it all the more difficult when Suzette realizes that her daughter needs help. Alex only sees the good. He’s at work all day but Suzette is the one who home schools Hanna. Suzette is the one who sees her act out in unimaginable ways. Suzette is the one Hanna targets when her jealousy rears its head. No school will take her. Suzette begins to feel like she’s trapped with this kid who does horrible things but she’s still her mother, so what can she do? What can be done?
That is the question. That and trying to figure out what is wrong with this kid! The entire time I was reading this book my mind jumped all over the place. Is this kid possessed? Is she playing games? Is there something really wrong with her? A brain tumor? Something? This is the type of book that will drive you crazy but is also incredibly fun to read. Suzette is weaker than I would have liked her to be but as a mother myself, I’m not sure how I would handle a similar situation.
Baby Teeth is listed as a must-read by many for good reason. It’s thoroughly entertaining and impossible to put down. It made me second-guess myself a few times and had me questioning what the “right” decision would be for a parent in the same situation. I really enjoyed it.
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21 thoughts on “Review: Baby Teeth”
Yours is the first review that has made me want to actually read this. I’ve had a copy but I passed on it long ago because it just seemed so far out there but now I’m curious, I’m always tempted when I hear impossible to put down:)
There’s nothing in this book that couldn’t actually happen. It’s relentless. I guess this is a debut for the author. It doesn’t read like a debut. I did feel at the end that there could possibly be a follow-up.
This sounds intense!!!
It is intense!! There are moments where there is a lull but even in the lulls you expect something to happen and it does.
You liked this more than I did. I had a little trouble buying a couple scenes (like the capsule one) but overall enjoyed the book. At one point, I even thought the mom was nuts.
I felt your thoughts exactly and Kathy’s, too! But I kind of enjoyed it!
It was enjoyable. That feeling of pushing life away in order to turn the next page. That feeling can’t be ignored.
I love reading your thoughts about this one, Ti! You love the book about the ‘bad seed’ child – or is she? Ha! Definitely makes me want to read it. Putting it higher in my stack. I was a bit on the fence, but now…yep, I’ll try it.
Will it win any literary prizes? No, but it is entertaining as heck. And I was surprised how I kept switching teams while reading it.
I have an e-galley of this one! At my current rate of reading, this means I should get around to reading it right around Labor Day! 🙂
You’ll finish it quickly though. I could have read it in one day if pesky things like work did not get in the way.
I was going to read this and then changed my mind because I thought reading about a child like that would be too hard. But now I want to read it. If I was the mother I would have set up camera’s throughout the house, and probably the car.
There are some things like that, that could have made the mom’s life easier but the dad is Swedish so that does play into it a little bit. Their parenting style is a little different than what you or I would expect. Plus, the mother has some health issues which has weakened her overall so she’s not really up on her game. You know?
This sounds like it’s really good. Unless there is some paranormal thing going on. 🙂
Definitely seems like a “ME” book. I can’t believe how similar are taste in books is.
The child seems sort of possessed. The premise reminds me a little of Shriver’s book We Need to Talk about Kevin. Is it? It might be too nutty or scary disturbing for me? hmm
Another reader mentioned Shriver too. Her actions don’t come close to Kevin in Shriver’s book. Her book was much more disturbing. In this one, there is clearly something off in this kid but at the same time you wonder if a firm grounding would fix it. You know? It’s a combination of wishy washy parenting and something else.
I’m a tough parent, but this situation would be one that would be hard for any parent to navigate I think. I may put this on my recommendation list for book club.
If there are a lot of moms in your book club, they may have fun with this one. So much to discuss. Are her parents doing all they can do for her? Are they not taking her behavior seriously? I swung from one end of the pendulum to the other.