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.
“Words, ever unreliable, were no one’s friend.”
What a gripping and extremely creepy story!! Reviews seem to be all over the place on this one but I couldn’t put it down. I found this to be a VERY unique and original book.
What would you do if your beautiful child was really very disturbed on almost every level? It’s easy to think we would all do the right and most obvious thing but this book shows how difficult and heart-wrenching those choices can be. Suzette and Alex have what seems to be the picture-perfect life: a stunning home, many professional accomplishments and a beautiful child. Except that Hanna is 7 years old and does not speak.
Is it autism? Something more profound? And is it a willful refusal to speak, or an inability to speak? The author paints a fascinating picture of this family told from two POVs: Suzette and Hanna.
“Hanna kept her words to herself because they gave her power. Inside her, they retained their purity. She scrutinized Mommy and other adults, studied them. Their words fell like dead bugs from their mouths. A rare person, like Daddy, spoke in butterflies, whispering colors that made her gasp. Inside, she was a kaleidoscope of racing, popping, bursting exclamations, full of wonder and question marks. Patterns swirled, and within every secret pocket she’d stashed a treasure, some stolen, some found.”
Suzette stays at home with Hanna and home schools her. It soon becomes very clear that she is dealing with much than just a child with developmental disabilities. Something is very, very wrong with Hanna. But Suzette’s husband is in deep denial over Hanna because all he sees is a bubbly, happy and highly intelligent child who just acts out sometimes because she can’t use her words.
“She hates me sometimes.”
I read this book in almost one sitting. The author does an amazing job of building tension so that I absolutely could not stop reading this very disturbing story. There is a sense of foreboding on almost every single page. This book is not for everyone but I loved the imagery, the plot and the dynamics between Suzette and Alex as a married couple and between Suzette and her daughter Hanna.
‘Baby Teeth’ was one of my most anticipated books of the summer. And it did not disappoint. Sometimes I felt sympathy toward Hanna because of the depth of her disabilities but mostly I was on the edge of my seat for the beautiful and selfless Suzette. And kudos to the author for shedding light on the difficulties of living with an autoimmune disease! This added an unexpected depth to this book. Zoje Stage is a new voice in fiction and I cannot wait to see what she dreams up next!
“It was hard to pour endless love into someone who wouldn’t love you back. No one could do it forever.”
(With thanks to the publisher for a review copy.)