Synopses & Reviews
One late-summer weekend, a group of thirty-something couples and their children gather at a shabby beach house called “Eden,” but their trip is a far cry from paradise.
—Nicole: the host, the beach house is her parents', and shes made sure to be there for the weekend because shes terrified by internet rumors that something big and bad is going to happen in New York City that week. Go-bag always packed, Nicole is neurotic, nervous and alert.
—Susanna and Allie: the enviable two-mommy couple with twins, theyve tied the knot the day they drove out to the beach house; its so easy to reduce them to a modern urban cliché but nobody sees the reality of their struggles.
—Rip: the sole daddy in the playgroup, desperate to have a second child, but his take-no-prisoners corporate-exec wife Grace isnt on board; after all, they had to use a sperm donor.
—Tiffany: beyond comfortable with her (amazing) body, she wasn't born into the upper middle class world all the others were; she propelled herself from a chaotic childhood to land a nice life; will what she brings to this weekend blow it all up?
—Leigh: has hired the magic nanny everyone wants, and has rubbed that in the other parents faces by bringing Tenzin along. Tenzin, however, whose own children live thousands of miles away in India, sees the parents from a different perspective.
As the weekend unfolds and conflicts intensify, painful truths surface. Friendships crack. Identities are challenged as the characters begin to doubt the choices theyve made, comparing the lofty expectations they had for what theyd once imagined as the “prime of their life,” with its day-to-day reality. Their resentment toward each other grows against the chaotic backdrop of young childrens relentless demands, culminating in a climactic scene in which the ultimate rule of the group is broken. Two days together in Eden will change the group forever.
A warm, smart and unpretentious literary novel, Cutting Teeth is involving and thought-provoking, perfect for readers of Tom Perrotta and Meg Wolitzer.
"Debut novelist Fierro tells a story about the obsessive, competitive, and neurotic behavior of parents in their 30s. The focus is four families who venture to a Long Island beach house for Labor Day weekend. Nicole, a paranoid pot smoker, is trying to avoid taking Zoloft again; Allie and Susanna are newlyweds and expecting; Rip is a stay-at-home father who argues with his wife about buying his little boy a princess dress; Leigh is an heiress trying to maintain the pretense that she has not, in fact, lost her family fortune. Finally, there is Tiffany, who always has the last word and consistently wears the least amount of clothing among the weekenders. As the melting pot of personality churns and Tiffany's appetite for wreaking havoc grows, jealously, betrayal, and regret slowly overpower any possibility for relaxation. Even though this story is framed to be a cozy and comical slice of life, Fierro's attempts to relate to the current age of parenting ultimately fall short. (May)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"When a group of thirty-something parents gather at a ramshackle beach house called Eden, no serpent is required for the sins, carnal and otherwise, to pile up. Fierro, founder of Brooklyn's Sackett Street Writers' Workshop, argued in The Millions last year that writers need to put the steam--and the human sentiment--back into sex scenes in literary novels. You may want to keep Fierro's debut novel on a high shelf, away from children and prudish literary snobs."--The Millions "Entertaining, wise, heart-breaking at times, Cutting Teeth is an outstanding debut. Julia Fierro's particular genius is her ability to understand and render the vagaries of the human heart."--Therese Anne Fowler, author of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald "Timely and observant, Julia Fierros writing feels like real life. She captures the anxiety of our times with the authority, insight—and humor—of lived experience."--Karen Thompson Walker, author of The Age of Miracles
"Immediately satisfying and emotionally astute. Fierro's writing is clear and precise, and in her hands, this ambitious project, told through different voices, reads as smoothly as a peanut butter sandwich with the crusts cut off."--Emma Straub, author of Laura Lamonts Life in Pictures"Julia Fierros Cutting Teeth offers immense rewards to readers far beyond those who will identify with the frantic, conflicted, yearning parents who fill the novel (though many will). Its for any reader seeking a tale rich in character, strong in voice and filled with both incisive social critique and a luminous generosity of spirit, a rare combination indeed."--Megan Abbott, author of Dare Me and The End of Everything"One of the most compelling and trenchant novels Ive read in years. A fearless and unrelenting portrait of urban parenting—its nuanced complexities, its ceaseless labor, its rare but transcendent moments of pleasure—done with dark humor, refreshing intelligence, and bottomless empathy."--Bret Anthony Johnston, author of Corpus Christi: Stories
"Funny, warm and dead-on smart, Julia Fierro has written a tremendous novel about the having-it-all generation, now forging their own paths and families. After all the talk and the revolution, after leaning in and shouting it out, the blueprints for creating a balanced life between work and family are still elusive. To most of us. Cutting Teeth reads like a conversation with your best friend, over wine, after the kids have been tucked in, and the truth comes out."--Deborah Copaken Kogan, author of The Red Book"Julia Fierro's debut novel Cutting Teeth is filled with honesty, humor and intelligence. First, I fell in love with the insightful, graceful voice, then with the complex, deeply flawed yet appealing characters, and finally with the narrative arc that carried me from beginning to end in one rush. Compelling, and infused with compassion."--Jean Kwok, author of Girl in Translation
One of the most anticipated debut novels of 2014, Cutting Teeth
takes place one late-summer weekend as a group of thirty-something couples gather at a shabby beach house on Long Island, their young children in tow.
Nicole, the hostess, struggles to keep her OCD behaviors unnoticed. Stay-at-home dad Rip grapples with the reality that his careerist wife will likely deny him a second child, forcing him to disrupt the life he loves. Allie, one half of a two-mom family, can't stop imagining ditching her wife and kids in favor of her art. Tiffany, comfortable with her amazing body but not so comfortable in the upper-middle class world the other characters were born into, flirts dangerously, and spars with her best friend Leigh, a blue blood secretly facing financial ruin and dependent on the magical Tibetan nanny everyone else covets. Throughout the weekend, conflicts intensify and painful truths surface. Friendships and alliances crack, forcing the house party to confront a new order.Cutting Teeth is about the complex dilemmas of early midlife—the vicissitudes of friendship, of romantic and familial love, and of sex. Its about class tension, status hunger, and the unease of being in possession of life's greatest bounty while still wondering, is this as good as it gets? And, perhaps most of all, Julia Fierros warm and unpretentious debut explores the all-consuming love we feel for those we need most, and the sacrifice and compromise that underpins that love.
About the Author
JULIA FIERRO is the founder of The Sackett Street Writers Workshop, which has been a creative home to over 2000 writers since 2002. A graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop, where she was a Teaching-Writing Fellow, her writing has appeared in Guernica, The Millions, Flavorwire, and other publications, and she has been profiled in The L Magazine, Brooklyn Magazine, The Observer and The Economist. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and their two children.