What if you woke up one morning and realized you gave birth to a monster? Zoje Stage questions the fundamentals of parenting and mother-daughter relationships in Baby Teeth, a horrifying and addictive story about a mother’s journey to understand her seemingly sinister daughter. With constant twists and an intriguing perspective from both Suzette and her daughter, Hannah, Stage delivers a captivating novel that will leave readers looking at their own relationships in a very different way.
The trouble began when Hannah refused to speak or couldn’t; Suzette is left uncertain as to which is true. But as time goes on, Suzette begins to see Hannah’s shifting personality, both her meek and calm persona whenever she is near her father and her rebellious and frightening nature when he is absent. The element that truly pushes Suzette to the edge of her limits is when Hannah does speak, her words more frightening than her silence. With a very troubled child and a hopeless situation, Suzette is left alone with her daughter, Hannah, who is certain to wreak havoc on both of their lives.
Baby Teeth is a story that has been told before. We’ve seen it in both the book and the film adaptation of We Need to Talk About Kevin, yet somehow Stage’s novel is still fresh and relevant in the thriller genre. Her writing is eerie and haunting, presenting a story that will strike fear in readers of all ages. The element that makes her work stand out amongst similar stories is the dual narration, giving insight into the lives of both Suzette and Hannah since, after all, every story has many different angles — these two voices revealing the darkness within both mother and daughter, who are both to blame for the events that occur in Baby Teeth. As far as thrillers go, the basic story may seem familiar, yet Stage transforms a complex relationship into one that is frightening beyond belief and impossible to forget.
I’ve read plenty of thrillers this year, such as A Simple Favor and Into the Water, yet Baby Teeth is certainly the most memorable. From the engaging perspectives to the horrifying actions of both Suzette and Hannah, this story is truly breathtaking and well worth the read. Readers looking to be shocked, disturbed, and left reading late into the night are guaranteed to be pleased.