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A visceral, subversive novel about motherhood, mental illness, and the pressure for queer parents to be perfect. Arnett is a wonder and I'll be waiting eagerly for anything she writes.
This book is INSANE! Breathless, fast-paced writing and a plot full of twists and turns. A daring exploration of lesbian relationships and the pressure for queer parents to be perfect. Unforgettable characters and a haunting ending!
NAMED A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY THE WASHINGTON POST, VOGUE, AND MARIE CLAIRE
“A gripping read…Unabashedly queer, probing and unafraid…Exceedingly engaging.” –USA Today
“Sublimely weird, fluently paced, brazenly funny and gayer still, and it richly deserves to find readers.” –New York Times
From the author of the New York Times–bestselling sensation Mostly Dead Things: a surprising and moving story of two mothers, one difficult son, and the limitations of marriage, parenthood, and love
If she’s being honest, Sammie Lucas is scared of her son. Working from home in the close quarters of their Florida house, she lives with one wary eye peeled on Samson, a sullen, unknowable boy who resists her every attempt to bond with him. Uncertain in her own feelings about motherhood, she tries her best—driving, cleaning, cooking, prodding him to finish projects for school—while growing increasingly resentful of Monika, her confident but absent wife. As Samson grows from feral toddler to surly teenager, Sammie’s life begins to deteriorate into a mess of unruly behavior, and her struggle to create a picture-perfect queer family unravels. When her son’s hostility finally spills over into physical aggression, Sammie must confront her role in the mess—and the possibility that it will never be clean again.
Blending the warmth and wit of Arnett’s breakout hit, Mostly Dead Things, with a candid take on queer family dynamics, With Teeth is a thought-provoking portrait of the delicate fabric of family—and the many ways it can be torn apart.
About the Author
Kristen Arnett is the author of the New York Times–bestselling novel Mostly Dead Things and the story collection Felt in the Jaw. A queer writer based in Florida, she has written for The New York Times, Guernica, BuzzFeed, McSweeney’s, The Guardian, Salon, and elsewhere. She has been a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award and a winner of the Ninth Letter Literary Award in Fiction and the Coil Book Award.
PRAISE FOR WITH TEETH:
“A beautiful, startling demystification of queer family . . . a portrait of a woman who is, at once, wholly ordinary and not quite like any literary mother who came before.” —Vogue
“Sublimely weird, fluently paced, brazenly funny.” —New York Times
“[A] gloriously messy, eminently Floridian tale of family dysfunction. . . . Arnett pays brutal, forensic attention to the pain that festers when family members ignore their wounds and those that they inflict on others.” —The Atlantic
“Absolutely captivating and scathingly frank . . . strangely shrewd and tender . . . Arnett is that rare, brave writer willing to articulate the darkest thoughts even the best parents entertain while trudging along through the most challenging job in the world.”—Ron Charles, The Washington Post
“Gripping [and] un-put-down-able . . . a story with a chewy, sinewy bite that will leave you hard-pressed to look away.” —USA Today
“Arnett [is] adept at staging sensuous tragicomedies against the often-freakish backdrop of Florida. . . . Come for the wackiness and wonder of queer family dynamics, stay for the poignant portrait of motherhood on the brink.” —O, The Oprah Magazine
“[A] biting and funny take on queer families” —Entertainment Weekly
“Darkly funny yet sobering.” —Elle
“As With Teeth spins through its insightful portrayal of queer parenthood, the struggle for identity and autonomy amidst the disintegration of a marriage, Kristen Arnett keeps us guessing until the final moment.” —Los Angeles Review of Books
“An equally humorous and moving portrayal of a mother's fear of her hostile son while desperately trying to keep her family together.” —Marie Claire
“Arnett has a masterful sense of pacing and a real love for her flawed, unreliable characters. She infuses wit, emotionality, and that specific, saturated Florida essence into the writing, making [With Teeth] compulsively readable.” —Shondaland
“Warm and witty[,] compassionate and unflinching, Arnett’s story of a queer family in crisis illuminates poignant truths about parenthood, aging, and the ties that bind us.” —Esquire
"There is something refreshing, even comforting, about this story, complicated portrait of parenthood in all its unruly beauty." —Vulture
“There is no book I wish had come out sooner . . . Arnett’s sense of humor and celebration of queerness, absurdity, Florida heat and outsidership [feels] like permission to live with more joy and less fear.” —T Kira Madden, Bustle
“Among the more satisfying and accomplished books of the past year. . . . In her much anticipated second novel, Kristen Arnett has managed to wrangle the wilds of love, family, and motherhood to tell an engaging, voluminous story in bright, lucid prose.”—Chicago Review of Books “[Arnett] doesn't just stare into the eyes of her most off-the-wall creations, but sinks her teeth into their lives, reveling in every part of them, tough and tender. In With Teeth — a novel as humid and feral and teeming with life as Florida itself — Arnett is fearless in how far she's willing to go to show the darkest places we inhabit, as women, mothers, lovers, and people.” —Refinery 29
“You can feel the humidity in the air, the dense, wet stickiness of Florida throughout. . . . Although With Teeth explores the disintegration of a marriage[,] Arnett doesn’t leave us busted and sad. The varied perspectives keep us rooting for everyone.” —Ploughshares “Like Mostly Dead Things, Arnett’s second book is darkly comic, and this is [her] real talent; she writes into discomfort until it becomes comedy. With Teeth is an invitation to grab a bottle of cold beer and ride shotgun in a minivan full of self-sabotaging, irresistibly tender characters years before we’ll have enough distance to laugh at those traits in ourselves.” —Leigh Hopkins, Bomb
“Candid, gorgeous, and written in Arnett’s signature style, this is a must-read." —Real Simple
“Arnett’s depiction of a queer family is complex, funny, and textured, and she renders Sammie’s imperfection with nuance and humanity. This novel will leave readers at the edge of their seats, terrified to discover what terrible mistake Samson—or Sammie—is about to make next but unable to tear their eyes away from the dark, funny, and deeply human mess.” —Seattle Book Review
“Explosive.” —The Inquirer (Philadelphia)
“What happens when the reality of motherhood looks nothing like the Hallmark card one imagined? . . . In Kristen Arnett’s bold novel, Florida mom Sammie Lucas struggles with the challenges of raising a child who grows increasingly more hostile the older he gets.” —Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“A strange, beguiling surprise of a book. . . . . Full of whimsy and emotion, Arnett’s sophomore release completely rips away any delusions you might have had about books that revolve around mothers, wives and weird kids. Her take on queer relationships is clear-eyed, candid and captivating. . . . With Teeth is a revelation of love, regret and the wisdom that comes with letting go.” —Book Reporter “Embedded with Arnett’s unmistakable brand of humor and permeating with a fresh display of vulnerability, With Teeth is a gift with a heart as big as its author’s.”—Electric Literature
“A deeply felt, deeply uncomfortable, deeply hilarious story . . . It asks questions about parenthood and queer community that will stay circulating around my brain for a long time to come.” —Autostraddle
“Compelling, tense, and will leave you unsettled in the best way possible.” —Alma
“Through alternating laughs and audible gasps of horror, readers will come away from Kristen Arnett's darkly comic story with a new appreciation for the mysteries and puzzling perspectives each person we cross paths with holds inside.” —PopSugar
“[A] deliciously unsettling novel about parenthood and queerness. You'll be thinking about it for weeks.” —HelloGiggles
"Fantastic . . . . A hilarious and astute dive into the not-so-fun parts of parenthood. Arnett shows her range with laugh-out-loud scenes and moments of honest sadness. . . . Readers will root for [Sammie] from start to finish." —Bookpage
“Complicated, fearless and confidently messy, With Teeth should resonate with any reader who has ever felt like a stranger in their own life.” —Shelf Awareness
“Arnett paints a complex picture of a queer family in this well-sculpted drama. . . . prismlike prose [and] vividly rendered characters.”—Publishers Weekly
“Arnett continues to create needed space for a genre one might call ‘queer unromance.’ . . . This book is equal parts Florida queer and fascinating.” —Booklist
“Arnett writes movingly . . . . [She] deftly examines the psychological dynamics of a family, raising complicated questions about whether mothers can ever truly understand how to raise sons and whether our children, too often, are mirrors of our own worst tendencies.” —Kirkus Reviews
“With Teeth is a wonderfully sticky novel about motherhood, partnership, sex, and love. Kristen Arnett lets her characters have the run of the place, and it’s delicious fun to watch them do, say, and think things they’ll regret.” —Emma Straub, author of All Adults Here
“A darkly funny, brutally honest story about a woman undone by motherhood. Kristen Arnett grapples with the big questions: Is any child essentially unlovable? What does a happy ending look like? With Teeth digs in deep and doesn’t let go. I truly loved it.” —Jennifer Weiner, bestselling author of Mrs. Everything and That Summer
“From the very wise, very funny Kristen Arnett, With Teeth is as exhilaratingly candid as it is morally complex. Three cheers for this enthralling new book, which affirms my status as a card-carrying, rip-roaring, lifelong admirer of Arnett’s writing.” — R.O. Kwon, author of The Incendiaries
“With Teeth took me to a seedy Florida lesbian bar, handed me a flat beer with lipstick on the rim, and told me a story I couldn’t walk away from even if I tried. An exquisitely unsettling, brilliantly layered, darkly funny novel that’ll make you question your own perceptions.” —Casey McQuiston, author of Red, White & Royal Blue
PRAISE FOR KRISTEN ARNETT:
“Arnett deftly animates the sheer weirdness of desire and grief.” —O, The Oprah Magazine
“Arnett possesses all the bravery her characters dream of. . . . She writes comic set pieces to make you laugh, sex scenes to turn you on.” —Parul Sehgal,The New York Times
“The reflective, inquisitive quality of Arnett’s writing is key to its success. She’s a natural novelist because of her curiosity.” —Entertainment Weekly
“Kristen Arnett is wickedly talented and a wholly original voice.” —Jami Attenberg
“Kristen Arnett is the queen of the Florida no one has ever told you about, and on every page she brings it to steely and vivid life.” —Alexander Chee