Cutting Teeth by Julia Fierro

 

Cutting Teeth takes place over a single weekend, when a mommy group has gathered for a brief summer retreat at a beach house on Long Island, spouses and children in tow.

What a motley crew! There’s a germaphobic doomsday prepper, a stay-at-home dad who struggles with male factor infertility, a lesbian couple, a wealthy family, a family with a developmentally delayed son, strict parents, hands-off parents, and plenty of secrets to go around. These characters are interesting and outrageous. There are ones you’ll love and ones you’ll hate; but as in real life, it’s more complicated than that. There is also a beloved Tibetan nanny who is a breath of fresh air, often balancing out the crazy going on around her.

Cutting Teeth was a fun and enjoyable read, but I have to admit, it also made me feel a little old. I kind of missed out on the mommy group thing when C was younger (thanks, preemie lockdown). Are these groups really full of such mismatched, insecure people? (Also, do adults really text each other using textspeak?)

Even though I often felt incredulous at the way these characters acted, I still found them honest, raw, and believable. We all have irrational fears and insecurities in some form or another, and Fierro taps right into that. It’s like she took all the tiny doubts and fears people have in healthy doses, isolated them, and then amplified them to create these characters. It’s at once embarrassing, appalling, and utterly fascinating.

If you’ve spent anytime at all on parenting internet sites (blogs, forums, columns) you’ll recognize these characters. What’s scary is, you might catch a glimpse of yourself, too.