Friday, May 23, 2014

If you are a parent and you have a pulse you will love this

The new novel Cutting Teeth, by Julia Fierro, had me as soon as I saw the cover: a Raggedy Ann and Andy doll clinging to each other for dear life, looks of quiet desperation plastered across their fabric faces.

Now this, I thought, is a story about parenting after my own heart. 

The debut novel, which came out a little over a week ago, follows the story of four Brooklyn couples who spend a weekend at a Long Island beach house with their young children. There'a the mom who's hiding her OCD and the mom who's hiding her financial ruin, and the mom who's hiding her yearning to escape the sometimes oppressive weight of parenting to return to her art. There's a sexy mom, and a stay-at-home dad, and lots of children, of all varieties. Throw them all together in one house for a weekend and let the drama unfold. Secrets will be revealed, relationships will fall apart - which is great because, let's face it, what's more fun than witnessing personal ruin, especially in fiction?

I cracked open the book and was instantly hooked by an opening chapter in which Nicole (no relation), pushes her four year-old son in a swing while descending into an obsessive spiral of anxiety related to a recent outbreak of swine flu. I'm a big believer that books have to grab you from the get-go (I have three kids and very little time for leisure reading, so if you don't have my attention in a viselike grip from the start, you're out, aug wiedersehen!, as Heidi Klum would say) and this book passed my better-make-it-good-and-do-it-fast test with flying colors.

The book is funny and sexy and thought-provoking and beautifully-written and it's honest, which is pretty much the number one quality I look for in a book these days.  I don't have time for bullshit. I want the human experience laid bare, and I want to be enriched, and entertained in the process. Cutting Teeth delivers, shedding light on the extraordinary experience, both harrowing and joyous, that is parenthood. If I was sand-bound this summer, you bet your sweet ass I'd be slipping this baby in my beach bag.