A gritty, romantic modern fairy tale from the author of Break and Gone, Gone, Gone.
Be careful what you believe in.
Rudy’s life is flipped upside-down when his family moves to a remote island in a last attempt to save his sick younger brother. With nothing to do but worry, Rudy sinks deeper and deeper into loneliness and lies awake at night listening to the screams of the ocean beneath his family’s rickety house.
Then he meets Diana, who makes him wonder what he even knows about love, and Teeth, who makes him question what he knows about anything. Rudy can’t remember the last time he felt so connected to someone, but being friends with Teeth is more than a little bit complicated. He soon learns that Teeth has terrible secrets. Violent secrets. Secrets that will force Rudy to choose between his own happiness and his brother’s life.
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published January 1st 2013 by Simon Pulse
Two stars: A strange book that is full of metaphorical ideas.
Rudy runs to the market, bare footed through the cold wet sand. He is uncertain as to why he refuses to wear shoes, he just does not want them on his feet. His shoeless attire probably is a reflection of the major changes that he has undergone over the last few months. Rudy and his family moved to this small secluded island looking for a magical cure for his five year old brother, Dylan, who suffers from cystic fibrosis. Living in the ocean off the shores of this island, are unique fish that have magical healing properties when eaten. No one knows how or why nor do they seem to care for as long as they eat the fish they are better. Torn from his friends and former life, Rudy tries hard not to be resentful. He does adore his brother and he is willing to make certain sacrifices, but it is awful lonely on this island as there are no other teenagers his age. That is until the day he meets the mysterious fish boy, Teeth. Teeth is half human, half boy and he guards the fish at a terrible price. Will Rudy be able to save his brother's life once he learns Teeth's secrets?
What I Liked:
- This is one of those books that left me completely perplexed. It is a book that I could see literature teachers loving as there are so many metaphorical inferences in this one. You could spend hours analyzing it. If you are someone that likes book with complicated themes and inferences, you should read this one.
- I liked the gritty, in your face writing style that Ms. Moskowitz uses for this book. I have said this before, I am a big fan of stream of consciousness narration and this book incorporates this style. Rudy is a teenage boy and he narrates this book. His emotions and thoughts are in line with a normal teenage boy in that he thinks about sex, and he struggles to find his identity as well as his future. His narrative is full of angst and it is edgy, meaning he curses quite a bit, again this is realistic of a typical teen. Be warned, if you do not like swearing and narration that is all over the place as it covers all of Rudy's random thoughts, you will not like this book. I certainly appreciated that Rudy's voice was raw and real. I applaud Ms. Moskowitz for being able to write such a brilliant character. She seemed to capture the voice of teenage boy perfectly. The writing is also beautiful and interesting. I would recommend this book for the writing!
- This is one of those reads where the reader is left to interpret all of the author's messages. Again, this is a book I can see literature connoisseur's dissecting and discussing at length. There are major themes on the environment and man's willingness to destroy everything. What if there was a magical cure for diseases, is the cost worth the ultimate destruction of the environment? Is it right to rape and pillage the Earth's resources without regard? Does man have the right to harm those who seek to protect the Earth's resources? There are so many moral questions that are raised with this book, it really got me thinking.
- I liked that this book ended on a hopeful note, and it seemed that Rudy managed to find the right balance as he did the right thing for Teeth and his brother. It gives me hope that there is a chance that man might someday get the bigger picture and find the optimum relationship between ourselves and our environment.
And The Not So Much:
- I struggled with so many aspects of this book, while I wanted to love it, I couldn't because it felt to me like the author was trying too hard. I know the reviews are all over for this one. Either people love it, or they don't. This book is going to appeal to a certain audience. Though I appreciate great literature and metaphorical parallels and complexity, I just didn't feel this one. Perhaps I just wasn't in the right reading mood, or my shoes where too tight, or the day was too cold and cloudy... who knows....I might feel differently about this on another day. I can tell you this, if you are picking this up expecting a straightforward story you will be left disappointed because it is anything but that. If you are the type of reader who enjoys challenging reads and like to spend time picking through all the metaphors to determine the author's deeper hidden meaning definitely pick this one up. I don't know if this is being marketed as a YA title, but I can say that this book will likely not appeal to the average teenage reader.
- This novel lacked detail. I am a reader that wants as much information, without dumping, as possible and this book was sorely lacking in that aspect. I had some many questions and little answers. I kept expecting some dramatic revelation as to why the fisherman were hurting Teeth every night, and there was all this buildup for a weak pay out. I know the author was trying to make a metaphorical point with how the fisherman, who could be interpreted as greedy corporations, or the government, or anyone who seeks to gain wealth by pillaging natural resources, continually harm anything and anyone who stand in their way. But in the storyline it was a bit ridiculous that Teeth would continually be abused in such a horrific way.
- The secondary characters, aside from Dylan the sick brother, all felt like cardboard cutouts. There was little detail on any of them and they just drifted in and out of the story and I never got to know any of them. Diane was particularly confusing. I was expecting so much more from her character, and what was the deal with her mother? She is a histrionic mess, spending hours each week crying in her bathroom, but there is absolutely no development or movement with her character.
- I have to admit I rolled my eyes when I found out how Teeth came to be. Seriously? I won't spill it here but it was beyond ludicrous. I am sure there was probably some big hidden inference, but I failed to grasp it and it was just nasty.
Teeth is one of those books that is incredibly hard to review. I know that there are plenty of reviewers out there who liked this book, but for me it was a novel that I just could not connect with at this time. It is full of deep metaphorical situations that you could spend hours ruminating over. It is complex and beautiful with amazing writing, but in the end it isn't one of those books that blew me away. If you are in the mood for a dark, gritty read that is brimming with moral questions read this. If you are looking for an interesting and entertaining story, I cannot say I would recommend this one.
"We are a groan away from a watery death, and we'll all drown without even waking up. because we're so used to sleeping through unrelenting noise."
"It's just hat ever since we've moved here it's like we became different people. And it's not like we've changed, or gotten better, or worse, it's just that....we stopped being who we really are and started being who we expected each other to be."
"We're like... caricatures, compared to how we were."
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.