Certain books are meant to be read at certain points in a person’s life. Young adult novels, packed with ideas and knowledge are most effective when read by a young person who is still impressionable, moldable to the world surrounding them. Novels like Cutting Teeth, by newcomer Julia Fierro, however are ones that should be read early on in parenthood. Fierro’s first novel tells the tale of five pairs of inner NYC parents who take a weekend to vacation in the countryside of Long Island. Each of them with their own children, personal issues and parenting styles are soon to clash and combat each other. Suddenly the parents begin to look a bit like the kids themselves.
The story starts out on a Thursday afternoon. Nicole is enjoying her time at the playground with her son Wyatt. He’s busy on a swing pushed by her, while her mind is filled with thoughts of the impending doom and gloom of NYC. You see Nicole had read something recently on a popular mommy message board that made hints of an epidemic of mass destruction hitting The Big Apple that weekend and she isn’t having any of that. Luckily, her whole family was heading to her parents house on Long Island to spend a weekend away with their Friday afternoon playgroup. Joining her would be the other parents of the Friday afternoon group and their significant others. While most of these people involved in this group have spent copious amounts of time together, a weekend away in a confined space will prove to be the deciding factor on how great their relationships and parenting skills truly are.
Cutting Teeth is basically the perfect novel. Pending and current parents are going to love this a lot more than those without kids, but there is still plenty to offer for those who are just partners to another. What starts as a weekend vacation for these unsuspecting people really turns into a lesson in both parenthood and friendship. The characters that Fierro draws in Cutting Teeth might not appeal to every reader since they are upper class folks from the burbs of NYC, but their actions and thoughts match those of us who make up the rest of the class systems. There are so many characters in this novel, the reader will find one to attach to, to root for and feel sympathy for.
While it might not be the quintessential book on how to parent, Cutting Teeth does a great job of making us feel like we’re human even when we make mistakes. It paints a portrait that shows it’s characters at their most vulnerable, when they’re at a loss for words or maybe even incredibly angry at someone they consider their close friend. The varying emotions the reader will feel while reading this novel is enormous, but extremely worthwhile. Prepare yourself for heartbreak, laughter and anger all within a few chapters. Fierro is absolutely a fantastic writer and this is one hell of a debut novel.
Rating – 9.5 out of 10 – It’s going to be hard for some readers to believe, but this is Julia Fierro’s first novel. Cutting Teeth is the brutally honest portrayal of what it’s like to be a parent in the modern world. Reading this novel will instantly make you realize what you’ve been missing in your life; or maybe what you need to rid yourself of.
Cutting Teeth is available for purchase here.
You can find Julia on Twitter here.