***Disclosure: I was given a copy of this book to review.
All the opinions are my own. I was also given a copy to give away. ***
There have been many books written about motherhood. Fictional accounts of the trials and tribulations that meet us along our journey into the world of motherhood. Many tell the stories of mothers similar to us, trying to survive the daily struggles of play dates and GMO free food. Some of the stories shed light on how mothers "hold it all together" in appearance only. Other books give honest accounts at how mothers, no matter their backgrounds lie, cheat, and quite possibly steal to give the appearance of "fine". Why is it that we just love to read about the lies we tell ourselves?
Cutting Teeth, by Julia Fierro is a wonderfully written book about modern motherhood. It tackles friendship, marriage, motherhood and how those relationships affect us and those around us. Cutting Teeth focuses on four families of a New York City playgroup. Despite wealth and education, these millennials struggle in the same ways you and I struggle when it comes to issues that face modern parenting. Financials, addictions, obsessions, and and even lust, Cutting Teeth paints a picture of what goes one behind those beautiful facades.
The four core members of the playgroup are all so different, and yet it's not hard to imagine why they all find some comfort in each other.
Tiffany is the youngest of the group and reckless with love and opinions. After traveling a very long and abusive road to the upper-middle class, she appears so confident to hide the fact that she is still so insecure and broken inside.
Nicole suffers from extreme OCD, but is desperate to keep up the facade of perfect. She buys organic, follows the World Health Organization daily for communicable disease updates, and wakes up feeling that there is impending doom to be met every day.
Susanna is a pregnant newlywed when we meet her, mother to twins, wife to Allie. Susanna loves being a mother, and is confused as to why her new wife Allie hasn't come to the same conclusion.
Leigh is a mother of two and the most "upper crust" of the group. She is the treasurer of her son's fancy Prep Preschool. She is struggling with the behavioral issues that have manifested in her son, and she has always been the group pushover, until very recently. With the help of her Tibetan nanny, Leigh is barely holding it together.
Rip is the token Dad of the group, but quite possibly the most comfortable in his skin. He is a "new world" Dad, staying home with his son until he can get work again as an actor. He enjoys all the comforts of a Pinterest Mom making candles and organic baby food. At times the voice of reason, but also the one with the most to lose. He wants another baby desperately. Now all he has to do is convince his wife.
These four different friends decide to vacation together over Labor Day weekend at a beach house belonging to Nicole's parents. This is the perfect place for the four playgroup parents to honestly interact with their spouses, their children, and each other. Secrets, alcohol, and children under five all make for one hell of a weekend. Between Nicole's paranoia, Tiffany's barely there bikinis, Rips pent us testosterone, and Leigh's discontent and discomfort, it's hard not to keep turning pages to see how this will all play out. On top of all of that you have a very pregnant Susanna bumping heads with Allie more than celebrating their very new marriage. Cutting Teeth gives a very accurate portrait of modern parents wrestling with the standards they have set for themselves.
What makes this book even more interesting is how it plays the character of the Tibetan Nanny, Tenzin. Tenzin is there to help Leigh with her children, but in the end she touches all there lives in little ways. What I loved about Tenzin's character is that she was a muted voice of reason. Tenzin is a refugee waiting to be granted amnesty. She has left her husband and her children in Tibet, while she awaits amnesty so she can bring them to New York. It leaves you to wonder, what Tenzin must think of all these "millennial" mommies and daddies? How odd they must appear with their gluten and sugar free diets. In reflection I feel like the author put her in the background to remind us that even our worst struggles would be some one's best.
The twist and turns are natural playing into the characters self doubts and insecurities. The parenting situations are realistic no matter your socioeconomic background. Children often bring out our worst and best selves. This makes it difficult to keep up appearances when you are all under one roof. Called a great summer read by more that one news outlet, Cutting Teeth will satisfy your beach read hunger, but be warned. It doesn't put the story to bed in the way you might think.
And I think that is what I like most about it.
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