“Baby Teeth” by Zoje Stage

Why did I finish this book?

I suppose it counts for something that I did, though the most motivation came from it being an ARC that I felt obliged to finish, but…

Baby Teeth is a novel written to be a psychological thriller with lots of shock value. That is abundantly clear as the narrative moves from Hanna being more or less normal, stubborn seven year old to being a deliberate, calculating, evil seven year old. It is not a good representation of mental illness in children, though it does try to be. In spurts. This book is one of extremes, both from Hanna and her mental illness and Suzette and her physical illness.

It’s a twisted story, that’s clear from page three if not earlier. It feels like it has all the makings of a demonic possession story, and I admit to hoping that it would not follow that route. This meant I was hoping that a severely ill seven year old be manipulated for a plot device, which is a bit disturbing to think about, but these things happen.

It is an intense story, I’ll give it that. Very hard to stop reading.

And it’s often easy to feel like Hanna’s mother, Suzette, is just as twisted as her daughter. And this is painted as somehow more… normal and acceptable because Suzette suffers from severe Crohn’s Disease and that has to have a psychological impact on a person. It shouldn’t be more normal and acceptable, because using disturbed children for shock value will never be okay with me.

Twisted psychological thrillers are fine, but Hanna’s attacks on her mother do little to advance the overall plot of the story beyond making her more twisted. This has never been my book or movie genre of choice and I doubt it ever will be. But that’s just my humble opinion.

Alex, the father-husband to Suzette-Hanna is almost unbelievably naive but then I realized that his reactions to his daughter, Suzette’s reactions to her daughter are probably both very similar to how normal, loving set of parents would react if their child started acting out so violently and viciously.

That being said, I still don’t know if that makes a good book.

I do hope you like it though!

(I received my copy of Baby Teeth through NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest and original review. All thoughts are my own.)



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