CUTTING TEETH Novel Cindy Roesel’s Review


CUTTING TEETH is the debut novel by Julia Fierro and one of the most anticipated books of 2014. As soon as it was available, I downloaded it, and having read CUTTING TEETH I can tell you, you don’t want to miss it.
Do you find reading about dysfunctional people compelling? Reading about how the characters interact in CUTTING TEETH is like watching a car accident or a train wreck happen in slo-motion. You’re surprised and shocked but you can’t turn away, so you keep turning the pages. I love complex, self-involved characters with distinct voices. I also enjoy getting to know characters I don’t like if they’re written well and CUTTING TEETH is filled with them.
A Brooklyn preschool playgroup of mommy’s, daddy’s, their kids and a nanny head out to the Long Island beach house of one of the parents for the Labor Day weekend. The group barely gets along once a week. A whole weekend together out at the beach is a recipe for conflict and bringing painful truths to light, especially when alcohol and pot are on the menu.
There’s Nicole, who’s stopped taking her anti-anxiety meds and is obsessed with a website making end of the world predictions. Her husband Josh can tell when she gets too nervous and threatens to call her shrink. Stay at home dad, Rip, and father of Hank wants another baby with wife Grace, but she’s against it. Meanwhile they worry 4-year old Hank may be too feminine because he wants to wear princess clothes. Tiffany grew up on the wrong side of the tracks and is now uncomfortable with her upper-middle class lifestyle, but loves her body and uses it to get what she wants. She’s teaching her little daughter, Harper to be a mini-mommy and boss around the boys in the group, like she does to her fiancé, Michael. And there’s Allie and Susanna, a lesbian couple and parents of twins Dash and Levi. Allie is a famous artist and Susanna the biological mother who carried the twins to term with a friend’s sperm. Allie now imagines leaving her wife and kids for her art. And finally there’s Blue-Blood Leigh, mommy of Chase and Charlotte who is wealthy in name alone, but no one knows that. She may be on her way to jail for stealing money to fund the fertility treatments to conceive her daughter. Leigh has her Tibetan nanny, Tenzin, to help her with Chase who is “on the spectrum.”  Tenzin is the only one able to calm Chase down when he gets riled up. That’s why hubby Brad isn’t on the vacay. Tiffany calls Tenzin “The Tibetan Mary Poppins” and is trying to hire her away from Leigh.
These are people with issues. From the outside they may appear to have it all, but there are cracks in the façade. We as readers are voyeurs into their misfortunes. They’re trying to fit in, be friends, but if it wasn’t for the playgroup, I doubt they’d ever be in contact with one another.
I really enjoyed CUTTING TEETH and I don’t have children. When I started reading the novel, I wondered if that was going to affect how I responded to the book but it didn’t. As I already wrote, the characters are brilliantly created and written. I’m so excited to read what Julia writes next. Be sure to check out her website and join her facebook and twitter accounts.
FYI: Author, Julia Fierro provides a “Family Trees” chart at the beginning of the novel, so you get acquainted with the characters before and can refer back throughout while you’re reading. Trust me. This is a very good thing, and I hope other authors will follow her lead when they have multiple families and characters.

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4 thoughts on “CUTTING TEETH Novel Cindy Roesel’s Review

  1. Brilliant review! Julia Fierro’s debut novel represents the parenting voice of the Gen X generation. Sharp, biting, and bang on in her observations, Julia strikes the perfect satirical note in addressing the insanity that is uppwardly mobile parenting in the 21st century.
    Author of “Deathbed Dimes”


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