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I doubt there is a one of you who hasn’t heard about Cutting Teeth by Julia Fierro. The book, and the writer, are EVERYWHERE and that is such a good thing! Julia is the founder of the Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop and thus has been cultivating a devoted fan club of hundreds (thousands?) of writers for a decade now. I can personally attest to her talent and generosity as an instructor–I sat around her kitchen table for three workshops before she sent me off to my MFA program. Nearly ten years later, she still enthusiastically plugs everything I publish or edit or do on the internet, as she does with so many of her former students. Anyone who was ever a recipient of her wisdom and support would obviously want to turn it back to her and luckily, it seems like the whole world has been doing just that to get this book, her first published effort, a crazy amount of buzz.

cutting teeth

About a “mommy group” who head to a Long Island beach house for a weekend of passive aggression, outright aggression, and all-around upheaval, the novel is told from multiple points of view. Often, this structure bums me out because I have a favorite character and feel like I don’t get to hear from him or her enough, or I feel like the structure is trying to turn a story collection into a more marketable novel. Neither was the case here–the action and arc of the book would have been incomplete without the exact pieces Julia put into play. There was only one character, Nicole, who launches the book, that I wanted more of–the rest of them were best taken in small doses! Read the rest of this entry »

When the second book of this trilogy, The Year of the Flood, came out a couple of years ago, I received it as a gift and started reading. By the time I realized that I should have read Oryx and Crake first, I had read enough that I didn’t want to stop. (Only a few pages, mind you). So I did read the whole thing and I enjoyed it, although now that I’ve read it again with the appropriate background–I read Oryx and Crake on the beach in Tulum–I see how much I missed the first time around. I followed it right up with the last book in the series, MaddAddam.


The three books are what the term “speculative fiction” was coined to describe–they happen in the nearish future and project forward from what is going on in our world now. The extreme technologies and crazy animal splices (rakunks and liobams), the insidious pharmaceuticals and enforced class divides don’t exist quite yet, but there is logical reason to believe that they all could, and soon. (There are also irregularly capitalized made-up proper nouns all over the place–the same thing that I hate in George Saunders’s speculative work–“CorpsSeCorps,” “HappiCuppa”….)

The overall effect of the three books is chronological although there is overlap between the first two in which the reader gets to see some concurrent events. Read the rest of this entry »