BABY TEETH Review & print galley giveaway

A battle of wills between mother and daughter reveals the frailty and falsehood of familial bonds in award-winning playwright and filmmaker Zoje Stage’s tense novel of psychological suspense, Baby Teeth. 
Afflicted with a chronic debilitating condition, Suzette Jensen knew having children would wreak havoc on her already fragile body. Nevertheless, she brought Hanna into the world, pleased and proud to start a family with her husband Alex. Estranged from her own mother, Suzette is determined to raise her beautiful daughter with the love, care, and support she was denied. But Hanna proves to be a difficult child. Now seven-years-old, she has yet to utter a word, despite being able to read and write. Defiant and anti-social, she refuses to behave in kindergarten classes, forcing Suzette to homeschool her. Resentful of her mother’s rules and attentions, Hanna lashes out in anger, becoming more aggressive every day. The only time Hanna is truly happy is when she’s with her father. To Alex, she’s willful and precocious but otherwise the perfect little girl, doing what she’s told.Suzette knows her clever and manipulative daughter doesn’t love her. She can see the hatred and jealousy in her eyes. And as Hanna’s subtle acts of cruelty threaten to tear her and Alex apart, Suzette fears her very life may be in grave danger…(synopsis from Amazon)
My thoughts, 4 stars
When & how did it all go so horribly wrong?
There’s plenty of blame to go around, unfortunately. An unhealthy competition for Alex’s time, attention, and love maybe? Suzette, a mother who vacillates between loving, resenting, and hating her child. Seeing her daughter as an intrusion, a mistake, coming between the life she desired and the life she’s forced to live because of perceived maternal expectations, and her husbands vision of the perfect happy family. Suzette is too needy and self-centered, and in my opinion, should never have had a child. Hanna, a daughter who despite her young age, is crafty and cunning. Is this behavior innate, learned or something else entirely? Is it a reflection of Suzette’s inner feelings about the bonds between a mother and child? Could this have been different? Alex, a father who prefers his rosy familial vision to reality. How long will he be able to hold onto that delusion?
BABY TEETH had my sympathies all over the place & in knots. There were times Suzette got on my nerves with her whining and self-centeredness; understandable or not. Hanna became downright scary. Alex’s refusal to believe/understand or acknowledge what was staring him in the face was also understandable, but isn’t there a point, before it reaches crisis stage, when you have to take off those rosy glasses?. In all honesty, I can’t say I particularly liked any of the characters. The over all feel was creepy and the ending left me filled with dread.

Thanks to Jordan at St. Martin’s Press I have a print galley to give away to one lucky commenter, sorry contiguous U.S. only.  Do you believe in bad seeds? Comment, and be sure to leave your email address so we can contact you if you win. Good luck!

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