Published: May 13, 2014
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
One of the most anticipated debut novels of 2014, Cutting Teeth takes place one late-summer weekend as a group of thirty-something couples gather at a shabby beach house on Long Island, their young children in tow.
They include Nicole, the neurotic hostess terrified by internet rumors that something big and bad is going to happen in New York City that week; stay-at-home dad Rip, grappling with the reality that his careerist wife will likely deny him a second child, forcing him to disrupt the life he loves; Allie, one half of a two-mom family, and an ambitious artist, facing her ambivalence toward family life; Tiffany, comfortable with her amazing body but not so comfortable in the upper-middle class world the other characters were born into; and Leigh, a blue blood secretly facing financial ruin and dependent on Tenzin, the magical Tibetan nanny everyone else covets. These tensions build, burn, and collide over the course of the weekend, culminating in a scene in which the ultimate rule of the group is broken.
This is a book that was right up my alley. Mothers with young children? Check! Mommy group? Check. Unfortunately, what seemed like a perfect fit ended up being just the opposite.
Fierro has a great writing style. It's quite readable and her dialogue is spot on. My technical issue with this book is that the various narratives (I think there 6 or 7 narrators) never really comes together for me. I think that Fierro tried to bring everything together at the end, but it just didn't work for me.
Now, here is my personal issue with this book. I think that Fierro writes for a reader who has a sense of humor that differs from mine. My guess is that someone who leans toward sarcastic or cynical humor would probably enjoy this book more than I did. Frankly, I found this a very hard book to stand. The characters, in my view, were just stereotypes of issues that a parent might face. It is all fine and good to take an issue and build a character out of it, but Fierro seemed to be taking characters and building issues out of them. With the exception of Tenzin, the Tibetan nanny, I found every single adult (and many of the children) to be absolutely loathesome and, really, could care less about any of them.
A different reader may have a different take on this, but this reader says to skip this one.
I received an electronic copy of this book to read in return for an honest review. I received no other compensation for this post.