Rating: 3.5 bookmarks
Here’s a psychological thriller that will make you very uncomfortable. What are Suzette and Alex to do when life with their demonic 7-year-old daughter gets dangerous? Try to understand? Rationalize? Maintain a normal façade? What’s their breaking point?
Hanna is an adorable little girl, on the surface. But she refuses to talk and plays her parents against each other. No school will have her, so Suzette has tabled her art career to home school Hanna while Alex builds his new Scandinavian design business in Pittsburgh. Mommy is the bad parent. Daddy can do no wrong. And when Daddy’s away, Hanna’s evil deeds become more and more alarming.
When Hanna finally speaks, it’s in the chilling voice of an alter ego.
Zoje Stage’s debut thriller poses an interesting dilemma and her characters shoulder additional complex problems. Suzette comes from an unhappy childhood and struggles with Crohn’s disease. Alex wants the perfect family and misses many signs that their life is in trouble. Hanna is, well, we don’t know. The reader can only try to understand her and see what happens.
In addition to the uncomfortable subjects, readers should brace themselves for graphic language and ideas. Stage’s rough descriptions and dialogue can be very jarring. I found some of this excessive and much of it did not seem to fit her characters, who are portrayed as smooth and sophisticated. Perhaps that’s the point however, their façade is nothing like who they really are.
Alex and Suzette ultimately seek professional help which gives the reader better insight into Hanna’s problem, or maybe it doesn’t.
Themes of unconditional love, marriage, family, careers, and self-preservation run through Baby Teeth, making it a relatable story for all readers.
This is the kind of book that demands you read it straight through. Stage has created a powerful momentum and I couldn’t rest until I finished.
I received an ARC of Baby Teeth from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. While there was a disclaimer at the beginning assuring readers that all formatting issues would be addressed, these jumps and other rough draft problems were more frequent than other ARCs and were a bit of a distraction.
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8 thoughts on “Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage”
I have seen this one around…and I’m curious. But Hanna sounds horrible! What’s with the teeth? Does she bite people?
Thanks for sharing, but I think I’ll pass on this one. LOL
No spoilers – ha ha! I’m not sure why I read this, but I saw an advanced review and thought I’d give it a try.
Sounds intriguing. The demon child theme has been used before to great effect, but it’s a rich vein — especially for anyone who has ever been a parent. Sounds like a deliciously disturbing beach, or fireplace, read.
Yes the theme is not a new one. I thought it was pretty good, but the genre is a little too disturbing for frequent reading. It did keep my interested though. Thanks for stopping by, Jan!
Certainly a unique premise. I always struggle with dark material involving kids though, so not sure I’ll read this one.
Yes, I know what you mean, Carrie. This one was definitely disturbing. But the part I struggled with was Suzette’s descriptions about her Crohn’s disease. They were a little too detailed and didn’t fit in with the rest of the story. But I read that the author suffers from Crohn’s so I understand her reasons. Thanks for reading and commenting.
Great review, Barbara. I confess…I’m a big chicken. This would probably give me nightmares. 🙂
You’ve piqued my interest with this one, although it sounds like more of a rough draft stage. That always makes a read more difficult.
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