With teeth

Kristen Arnett

Book - 2021

"From the author of the New York Times-bestselling sensation Mostly Dead Things: a surprising and moving story of two mothers, one difficult son, and the limitations of marriage, parenthood, and love If she's being honest, Sammie Lucas is scared of her son. Working from home in the close quarters of their Florida house, she lives with one wary eye peeled on Samson, a sullen, unknowable boy who resists her every attempt to bond with him. Uncertain in her own feelings about motherhood, s...he tries her best--driving, cleaning, cooking, prodding him to finish projects for school--while growing increasingly resentful of Monika, her confident but absent wife. As Samson grows from feral toddler to surly teenager, Sammie's life begins to deteriorate into a mess of unruly behavior, and her struggle to create a picture-perfect queer family unravels. When her son's hostility finally spills over into physical aggression, Sammie must confront her role in the mess--and the possibility that it will never be clean again. Blending the warmth and wit of Arnett's breakout hit, Mostly Dead Things, with a candid take on queer family dynamics, With Teeth is a thought-provoking portrait of the delicate fabric of family--and the many ways it can be torn apart"-- Provided by publisher.

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Subjects
Genres
Domestic fiction
Published
New York : Riverhead Books 2021.
Language
English
Physical Description
290 pages ; 24 cm
ISBN
9780593191507
0593191501
Main Author
Kristen Arnett (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Arnett (Mostly Dead Things, 2019) continues to create needed space for a genre one might call "queer unromance." As before, Arnett remains deeply interested in muggy Florida nights, the uncomfortable and the repulsive, and people getting it wrong. Sammie, mother to anti-social Samson and wife to power-player Monika, makes one cringeworthy decision after another, including biting back—with teeth—when her son bites her. Their mutual scars mark them early as the family navigates years of failure and difficulty. Sammie's profound imperfection will be a source of relief to queer parents everywhere; her bond with her son is complicated and fraught. In the opening scene, Sammie saves her son from a possible playground abduction, yet she ends up on the ground bleeding as Samson pours dirt on her. The novel's crescendo bends toward questions of plot (what is actually happening here) when the existential questions are more compelling (what is life for a not-young queer woman struggling in parenthood). Even so, this book is equal parts Florida queer and fascinating. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Arnett (Mostly Dead Things) paints a complex picture of a queer family in this well-sculpted drama. Protagonist Sammie and her wife, Monika, have a son, Samson, who proves to be an ornery and enigmatic child. (Among other things, he willfully lets a strange man attempt to abduct him at the age of four and later carries a school project doll of himself everywhere.) Sammie is the more anxious and hands-on of the parents; she works part-time as a copy editor, while laid-back Monika excels as a lawyer. In addition to doubting her fitness as a parent, Sammie misses the social life she had pre-Samson and "didn't like the way other women looked at her wife, didn't like the fact that no one looked at her that way anymore." By the time Samson's 16, he has become a skilled swimmer and retains much of his inscrutable personality, Sammie and Monika have separated, and Sammie struggles with dating. Arnett's prismlike prose is supplemented by vignettes focused on peripheral characters, such as Samson's teachers, which add some maximalist flair to the domestic story. With its vividly rendered characters, this offers an intense rendition of a modern family. Agent: Serene Hakim, Ayesha Pande Literary. (June) Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"From the author of the New York Times-bestselling sensation Mostly Dead Things: a surprising and moving story of two mothers, one difficult son, and the limitations of marriage, parenthood, and love If she's being honest, Sammie Lucas is scared of her son. Working from home in the close quarters of their Florida house, she lives with one wary eye peeled on Samson, a sullen, unknowable boy who resists her every attempt to bond with him. Uncertain in her own feelings about motherhood, she tries her best--driving, cleaning, cooking, prodding him to finish projects for school--while growing increasingly resentful of Monika, her confident but absent wife. As Samson grows from feral toddler to surly teenager, Sammie's life begins to deteriorate into a mess ofunruly behavior, and her struggle to create a picture-perfect queer family unravels. When her son's hostility finally spills over into physical aggression, Sammie must confront her role in the mess--and the possibility that it will never be clean again. Blending the warmth and wit of Arnett's breakout hit, Mostly Dead Things, with a candid take on queer family dynamics, With Teeth is a thought-provoking portrait of the delicate fabric of family--and the many ways it can be torn apart"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Struggling to create a picture-perfect queer family, Sammie Lucas, scared of her own son, must pick up the pieces when his hostility finally spills over into physical aggression, in this thought-provoking portrait on the limitations of marriage, parenthood and love.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

NAMED A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY THE WASHINGTON POST, VOGUE,  MARIE CLAIRE, READER'S DIGEST, AND GOOD HOUSEKEEPING“A gripping read…Unabashedly queer, probing and unafraid…Exceedingly engaging.” –USA Today“Sublimely weird, fluently paced, brazenly funny and gayer still, and it richly deserves to find readers.” –New York TimesFrom the author of the New York Times–bestselling sensation Mostly Dead Things: a surprising and moving story of two mothers, one difficult son, and the limitations of marriage, parenthood, and love If she’s being honest, Sammie Lucas is scared of her son. Working from home in the close quarters of their Florida house, she lives with one wary eye peeled on Samson, a sullen, unknowable boy who resists her every attempt to bond with him. Uncertain in her own feelings about motherhood, she tries her best—driving, cleaning, cooking, prodding him to finish projects for school—while growing increasingly resentful of Monika, her confident but absent wife. As Samson grows from feral toddler to surly teenager, Sammie’s life begins to deteriorate into a mess of unruly behavior, and her struggle to create a picture-perfect queer family unravels. When her son’s hostility finally spills over into physical aggression, Sammie must confront her role in the mess—and the possibility that it will never be clean again.Blending the warmth and wit of Arnett’s breakout hit, Mostly Dead Things, with a candid take on queer family dynamics, With Teeth is a thought-provoking portrait of the delicate fabric of family—and the many ways it can be torn apart.