by Zoje Stage
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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.
Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage delivered a fast-paced and twisted tale that will set the reader on edge. Dark, creepy and disturbing you won’t be able to look away. What do you do when daddy’s little girl wants mommy dead?
- Baby Teeth was quite the creepy tale. It is one I think people will either love it or hate it. I found myself teether precariously between them. One thing is for certain everyone will have an opinion. We find ourselves inside the home of Alex and Suzette Jensen. They are a family of means, both artistic and parents of an only child, seven-year-old daughter Hanna.
- Hanna is brilliant and has a vivid imagination however she has never uttered a word. Rigorous medical testing from scans to hearing have detected no abnormalities. For her Daddy, she is a precious, adorable little angel in need of protection. For Mommy she is cunning, manipulative and dangerous. They attempted traditional school, but Hanna’s outbursts, and other incidents have her being turned away. Not going to lie Hanna was devious but I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her. She suffers abandonment fears and sees the world differently.
- Suzette, the mother and wife has serious medical issues stemming from Chron’s disease. Her childhood was nightmarish, and she likes order, neatness and routine. She is also weary, and fearful she is a bad parent. She wants to please Alex who is her center and worries she is failing Hanna. You could really feel how she struggled to handle a defiant child without spousal support. I felt for Suzette, and yet a part of me worried she was at the root of the problem.
- Alex, is your typical bread-winning Dad and its clear he loves both his child and wife. However, he wants to believe there is a medical reason behind Hanna’s lack of speech and behavior. He looks for explanations for unacceptable behavior and dismissed opinions of Suzette, medical professionals and Hanna’s prior schools. His denial of Hanna’s behavior and attempts at smoothing things over only widened the gap between mother and daughter.
- Disbelief aside, the tale Stage shares is creeptastic, chilling and addictive. I needed bloody answers, and the author provided plenty of tidbits from Hanna’s friend to Suzette’s need for order.
- The tale alternates between Hanna and Suzette’s perspectives allowing the reader insight. I felt both were unreliable narratives, and I desperately wanted to answer the question, “Is this nature or nurture?” Hanna talks about the masks mommy wears. Good mommy, who cuts her bananas just right and, bad mommy, who hates her.
- Swedish traditions, witchcraft, and lots of themes from nature vs nurture, communications, manipulation, and perception. I was utterly fascinating by how differently Hanna and Suzette perceived different situations.
- I had trouble believing with all the medical testing done on Hanna that a psychological evaluation wasn’t performed. The demographics of the parents, despite Alex’s reluctance to believe anything is wrong with his precious little girl made it doubtful. Had they moved around a lot for his career etc, I might have believed it. Suzette grasped at any knowledge professionals would give her. I don’t know maybe the doctors suggested it but the parents refused?
- You will need to suspense belief at some of the actions of Hannah when comparing to an average seven year old. Zoje did try to address this. For example when she sets up a plan it doesn’t execute quite the way she envisioned. Her ability to manipulate seemed to complex for a child of this age, unless you accept she is being controlled or coached by an outside entity.
- The tale takes dark turns which were creepy but also made me question where a home-schooled child learned of such things. Hanna has a few scenes that strongly suggested a traumatic incident occurred.
Baby Teeth explores the mother and daughter relationship with a chilling twist. While it raised questions, this is a story you won’t soon forget. This is a great novel for a book club or a buddy read. Is a child is born inherently good or evil? This is a question I find intriguing and is one scientist debate. Baby Teeth explores this topic but leaves the question unanswered allowing the reader to decide. For those who need closure the ending might unnerve you. This is Zoje Stage’s debut novel and I look forward to reading more from her. Fans of You by Caroline Kepnes will want to check out Baby Teeth.
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