Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage

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)
Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon UK
Series: N/A
Rating: 5

Meet Hanna.
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.
Meet Suzette.
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.


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.

Advertisements

46 comments

  1. Great review, Norrie. Little shit does suit Hanna. I was surprised by her darkness and reading your review has just reminded me about how creepy this whole story was especially the bonfire bit. I agree with you on what you said about mental health.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know what you mean! I was always terrified of having children, so this kinda supported my theory and i’m not sure it’s a good thing, hehe.

      I think the author does a good job emphasizing that the child is not an evil being (like Damian in Omen), but is ill and how parents of mentally ill children need to have realistic expectations and so on.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ah well this is what I wanted to hear. I can’t deal with children being all Chucky-like. I need background and explaining and it does sound like she did a great job here. I contacted the author a while back through her own webpage to see if she wanted to have a spotlight or so but I got no response and I kind of left me less interested in the book but now… you just changed my mind again 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Alex

    Sounds like one very powerful read, scary because it taps into one of our worst fears, as women, about our children. It creeped me out just reading your review.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sounds like something I would definitely enjoy! I like creepy psychological reads.

    And I think it’s wonderful that this book addresses mental health issues as well. I still find it unbelievable how people happily go to see their doctors about their physical pain, but psychological pain is still something people don’t talk about too much and not always seek help. It’s changing, but there is still a lot of stigma attached to it.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve had many counselling sessions as well as life coaching sessions. I believe money and time I have invested in my mental health has been my best investment I have done to date. Because how I think determines how I feel and that then impacts what I do.

        A lot of my Czech friends from small towns find it still incredibly hard to seek help as there is a lot of stigma attached to it. So they either go to Prague or visit someone secretly so nobody knows… I really want to challenge and change that.

        Liked by 1 person

        • That sounds familiar!
          One of my friend from home said that she wouldn’t see a therapist there cuz there aren’t many, and she doesn’t trust them because they all know her mum / family. So bad…
          She has two little kids so can’t just go elsewhere so easily either.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Stories like that are unfortunately still so familiar. I am so happy that many authors are writing more and more stories that feature mental health. And it’s so important to have role models who openly talk about their struggles as well. I am hopeful but I think it will still take time.

            Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, she was scary for sure!
      I think what i found so scary that it’s actually realistic. Like… i can actually end up with a kid like that. Whereas Chucky… well, that’s just made up stuff.
      This one defo worth a read in my opinion.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Fantastic review! I read this book with a group they did not like the book and I felt judged for actually liking it… I just felt so much for the mother in this book, could not imagine being in her place, certainly made my kids look amazing! But you are right what do you do? And I have no idea how I would handle that situation…
    Again lovely review!💕

    Like

  5. I haven’t really explored the thriller genre while reading, but your review of this makes me definitely want to check it out. Officially adding it to my TBR list. Sounds like a book that would be hard to put down!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Monthly Catch Up #5 – May 2018 | Reading Under The Blankie

  7. WOW. absolutely fantastic review! i’ve seen this book floating around the bookish community for quite a while now, so i’ll just have to pick it up. i adore dark and sinister thriller-type books that make my skin crawl, and i love the message about mental health this seems to be sending. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: The 5 Best Books I’ve Read So Far As ARCs | Reading Under The Blankie

  9. Pingback: #BookReview – Baby Teeth – Zoje Stage (@zooshka) – 2018 #Bloggerstribe #BloggingGals – Nikki's Novel Niche

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: