Arts & Leisure

Book review: With Teeth — by Kristen Arnett

(Riverhead Books)

Sammie and Monika’s marriage is not unusual. They’ve assumed roles, chosen at first, but, as time has passed, those roles, and how they have come to define them, are now limiting, causing resentments. Sammie has slipped into the main caregiver, mother role, of Samson, named after Sammie, their son. Samson is presented as a troubled boy, emotionless, perhaps tending towards sociopathic, but the thing is, it’s Sammie who is doing the telling, and Sammie is the epitome of unreliable narrators. She’s so unreliable, she doesn’t even believe the things she says herself. Take the “abduction” for instance: an unknown man leads her young son away from the playground, inviting him to climb into his truck and Samson, Sammie says, wants to go, even fights against her trying to prevent the abduction. Sammie’s life begins to unravel around her, as Samson needs behavioral therapy and Monika stays away from the house more and more. Jump ahead eight years, and while separated, but not yet divorced, Sammie and Monika still live together in the same house. Cringe. Their acrid exchanges of terse dialogue and the rambling inner monologue of Sammie are sharp, modern, and brutal, laying bare the dark underside of motherhood. You’ll find out what happens With Teeth…

— Reviewed by Jenny Lyons of The Vermont Book Shop in Middlebury.


9 New & Noteworthy LGBTQ+ Fiction

The House in the Cerulean Sea, by TJ Klune

Honey Girl, by Morgan Rogers

The Guncle, by Steven Rowley

Detransition, Baby, by Torrey Peters

Sorrowland, by Rivers Solomon

The Chosen and the Beautiful, by Nghi Vo

Peaces, by Helen Oyeyemi

Milk Fed, by Melissa Broder

Burn It All Down, by Nicolas Didomizio

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