Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage
Published by St. Martin’s Press on July 17, 2018
Genre(s): fiction, horror, thriller
Format & Length: e-book, 320
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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.
From blazing new talent Zoje Stage, Baby Teeth is a story about a perfect-looking family, and a darling little girl who wants nothing more than to kill her mother.
Holy smokes. It has taken me quite some time after reading Baby Teeth to really get my thoughts together. And the more I think about it, the more it grows on me.
I don’t have children yet, but I have thought about it. I was never much of a babysitter growing up but hope that once I have children of my own, my mothering capabilities will kick in. But what if they don’t? What if I don’t understand my own child? What if my child loves my husband and not me? I sincerely hope I’m not the only woman out there who’s had these tiny nuggets of worry in the back of her mind, but there they are.
So, reading Baby Teeth was like seeing some of my worst fears come alive on the page. At first I was troubled, which grew to horrified, then questioning and curious. What made Hanna the way she is? Nature or nurture, or some combination of the two? When I first finished this book, I was annoyed that I didn’t get a more solid answer. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized: not only is there typically not a solid answer to that question, but Stage laid out quite a few hints along the way that I missed because I was so engrossed in the story.
Stage’s writing style hooked me from the first sentence and kept me enthralled through the very last. The plot was fairly straightforward with a brisk pace of events. But the characters were truly fascinating. They were complex with complicated (and dysfunctional) relationships. Not every aspect of the characters was realistic – some of the things Hanna thought and tried were way above the level of even an incredibly intelligent seven year old. But they still captivated me.
Baby Teeth certainly won’t be for everyone. But if you’re a fan of creepy reads following dysfunctional families, this might be right up your alley.