This title is released in the UK as Bad Apple. But, I’m reviewing it under the title of Baby Teeth as I won my copy from the US publisher, St. Martins Press, in a giveaway on Instagram.
Sweetness can be deceptive.
The sweet-but-silent angel in the eyes of her Daddy. All she wants is to live happily ever after with him. But she can’t until Mommy is gone…for good.
A stay-at-home mother who longs to have a career again. She loves her husband and daughter but years of expulsions and homeschooling have brought Suzette to the brink of in sanity. Not to mention her growing suspicions that something is disturbingly wrong with her child.
Hanna is a demon. There, I said it, someone had to. This seven year-old-girl has some serious issues, her behaviour is so far gone, not even Supernanny (Jo Frost) can save her! Satan, come and get your child! So, that pretty much sums up my thoughts on Hanna, and her parents are far more patient than me, because that demon seed would have [*mumbles incoherently about burying a child in the woods*]. As you can see, Hanna is a protagonist you love to hate; she was designed in the image of evil, and it was so much fun to read about. This constant battle, back and forth, between her and her mother, Suzette. Hanna doing all that she can to push her mother’s buttons, Suzette trying not to let it break her, but secretly coming to hate her child, and then feeling guilty for doing so.
Now, if that sounds like your idea of an entertaining read, then you may enjoy Baby Teeth. But, be aware, that’s pretty much all this book is, there isn’t any real plot development until the very end, and even then it’s minimal. This novel is episode after episode of Hanna pushing boundaries, causing harm and being a straight up terror, and Suzette struggling to cope. As much as Hanna was a dislikeable protagonist, her character brought the darkness. But, I’ll tell you who bugged the hell out of me and would have had me calling for an instance divorce (and take your child with you!) was Suzette’s husband, Alex. What a wet blanket he was, implausibly blind to the ways of his daughter. This plot does require you to suspend a lot of disbelief, in the events that occurred and the parents handling of it. So if you can’t get on board with a pair of unbelievable parents, you’ll really struggle with this one.
If you want to get all philosophical, you could argue this novel address themes of parenthood and how it must be for a mother to not like, and even fear, her own child. But really, that’s pushing it, this book isn’t a character study as much as it is an entertaining read, a creepy child that you’ll be glad isn’t your own, and one mother’s battle to get through the day with said child. I enjoyed Baby Teeth because my morbid curiosity had me wondering what deranged thing Hanna would come up with next, also I was secretly hoping Suzette would lose her shit and kill everyone!
But, seriously, if you’re looking for a fun read around the delusions of a seven-year-old girl who hates her mother, this may be the novel for you. Due to the lack of real plot development, this novel won’t be for everyone, but it’s fun, not to be taken too seriously, and I look forward to Stage’s next book.