Baby Teeth

Baby TeethBaby Teeth by Zoje Stage
on July 17th 2018
Pages: 320
ISBN: 1250170753
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Baby Teeth is a “psychological” thriller focusing on a dysfunctional family and their child with disturbing behavior. Alex, the father, does not want to see or believe that his daughter has behavioral problems. His daughter behaves around him, she is loving and, although she does not speak, she has her own way of communicating with him. Suzette, the Mother, is homeschooling her daughter while dealing with the symptoms of her Crohn’s disease. Suzette is the target or her daughter, Hanna’s, “bad” behaviors. Hanna begins to speak to her Mother and really wants her father all to herself. She is clever, manipulative, and unwilling to speak. She does not like going to traditional schools and engages in behaviors which result in her leaving the traditional school environment.

This book is told through POV chapters titled “Suzette” or “Hanna” The reader gets a glimpse into the mind of each. Hanna is the proverbial “bad” seed who acts out and has behaviors which get her into all kinds of trouble. Although she is seven years old, she had thoughts and actions, I would associate with a much older child. While reading the book, I kept waiting for the light bulb to go off over Alex’s head and for him to finally “see the light”. Suzette, being the target of most of her daughter’s bad behaviors, struggles with feelings ranging from wanting to help her daughter, fearing her child, and wanting to not have to deal with her child anymore.

For me this book was good not great. I thought of the movie, “The Good Son” while reading this book. Hanna has “evil” thoughts and is perhaps mentally ill. I won’t say more about the family or their family dynamic. Hanna is creepy, and this book is a fast read but most of the actions felt “gratuitous” and there for shock value to move the story along. There are a lot of negative behaviors, actions and thoughts in this book that it almost became too much. As characters spiraled out of control, the pace picked up but again things just felt gratuitous. Some may also be turned off by the way the Suzette speaks to her child. I would describe this book as good not great. For me there was something missing. Initially I really enjoyed the book but as I read more, I felt a disconnect but still wanted to know how the book was going to end. There was a battle going on and I wanted to see who won – even though no one really wins in these situations.

I received a copy of this book from St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.