Title: Baby Teeth
Author: Zoje Stage
Publication Date: July 17, 2018
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Date Started: March 7, 2018
Date Finished: March 17, 2018
*I would like to thank the publisher, author, and NetGalley for providing an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*
So remember how I previously mentioned I was looking for a creepy, uncomfortable book? Well, Zoje Stage gave me one. Others have compared it to a mixture of Gone Girl, The Omen, and We Need to Talk about Kevin. I have not read any of those (perhaps I should), but their synopses seem spot on.
Baby Teeth is a novel told from alternating perspectives: Suzette and her daughter Hanna. Hanna is seven years old, and honestly I hope I never meet a child like her in my life. She loves her daddy (normal), but to the point that she plots to destroy and kill her mother (not so normal). All Suzette wants is a normal, happy life, but is constantly struggling with her Crohn’s disease, and her psychotic daughter. Did I mention the father doesn’t believe Suzette and the stories she tells about Hanna? All he sees is his little angel. When all is said and done, this story isn’t terribly believable if you take a step back, but if you get lost in it, *shudder* Hanna is terrifying.
This is Stage’s first novel, and I have to point out that I loved that the setting was in Pittsburgh, PA. As a resident of the city, there were so many little nods to the culture and characteristics that make it unique. I have never read a novel that takes place in a city I live in, and it has made me want to explore other novels that incorporate cities I am familiar with, as I felt I could imagine the scenery so vividly. I would be walking to the bus stop (on a street that was mentioned in the novel no less) and look at a house and think to myself, “That’s the house that xxxx took place in.” Who knows, maybe it is?
While I didn’t particularly connect with the characters in the novel, I saw others I knew in them (not Hanna, don’t worry). At times some of the phrasing in the book was a little strange (“freshly f***ed”) which gave me pause, but overall I could imagine myself sitting on a lawn chair enjoying reading this book this summer, getting chills from the creepy factor.
Overall, 3/5 moose