Utterly terrifying; Baby Teeth made my uterus shrivel up in horror.
Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage
Genres: Thriller, Psychological Thriller
Published: 17th July, 2018 (expected)
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I realize we all absorb things through our own filters, and some stories, horrifying as they might be, also confirm our own beliefs regardless of them being right or wrong. I’ve always been reluctant to entertain the idea of having children, and one of my biggest fears is that I’ll end up with a child I can’t connect with, or worst: an actual monster. Shrugging it off doesn’t mean it can never happen.
This story could have gone in a different direction, with Suzette as an unreliable narrator, but the first chapter in Hanna’s head destroyed all illusions. This despicable little girl goes way beyond just being what I call: a little shit. Something is seriously wrong with her. What child would entertain fantasies of getting rid of their mum, permanently?
If there’s one thing that pisses me off, and fills me with dread at the same time it’s the oblivious husband. Our dear Alex Jensen in this book is a prime example, and I just wanted to kick him in the balls so badly! Of course Hanna is all sweetness and smiles when he’s around, his ‘squirelly girl‘, but his complete dismissal of his wife’s concerns made my blood boil. Throughout her ordeal, Suzette remains a loving mother, and although she’s scared shitless, I had to admire her ability to show so much compassion towards her little monstrous Hanna. I honestly don’t know what I would have done.
Baby Teeth put me on edge, and as I was ripping through the pages waves of dread washed over me. It got to the point where my lovely (non-oblivious) other half was on the verge of confiscating the book. I’m glad I finished it, because there’s some important stuff here for all of us to reflect on: about stilted family dynamics, parenting, and how the arrival of a child, especially a sick one, changes us as people.
Mental illness is a real thing: ignoring it, or finding excuses for it does not help anyone at all. With her clear prose, and the brilliant character, Beatrix, the psychologist the Jensen family seek out for help, Zoje Stage gets her point across efficiently. If your child had cancer, or even just a sore throat, you would want to help them. Why stick your head in the sand when it comes to mental illness then? Suzette (a.k.a. Mommy) is worried that she will get the blame. As a stay at home mother, at the end of her rope, maybe it’s her fault Hanna turned out like this… Beatrix also clears up some confusion about the nature vs. nurture debate, and the differences between sociopaths and psychopaths.
Dark and sinister, Baby Teeth is entirely relatable.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, but it did not influence my opinion.