Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Me on Teeth
Author: Hannah Moskowitz
Release Date: January 1, 2013
Publisher: Simon Pulse (S&S imprint)
Rudy's life 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 rickety house. Then he meets Diana, who makes him wonder what he knows about love, and Teeth, who makes him question what he knows about everything. Rudy can't remember the last time he felt so connected to someone, but being friends with Teeth is more than a little 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.
Teeth is raw, emotional, and brutally honest. This is one boy's story of family and friendship, doing what he wants versus doing what's right, and another boy's story of love and freedom. Nothing is easy, every step taken in this book is a struggle for every character, but hopefully there will be moments of happiness, if the hard choices are made.
Rudy's voice is brutal to the point of crude, angry and swearing about almost everything. He's sweet, he cares about his family, but he's angry and lost, drifting in the grey of the sea under his house. And then Teeth falls into his world.
Teeth is impossible to classify. Is he a monster? Is he a hero? What does he represent, the innate fear of the unknown and the unexplained that's trickled through society for decades? Is he a manifestation of all the illnesses and diseases that were hoped to be cured by those who traveled to the magical island? What I do know is he was abandoned and cast aside, abused and mutilated, treated like something worse than trash. He's like a banshee, screeching in pain, wailing over the crash of waves upon the island's shore. With a child's sense of right and wrong and a predator's teeth, he's feral. But there were times when he was the only human being on that island.
Diana is different, different than Rudy or Teeth. Isolated, alone, her world is the many found between the covers of books. Unfortunately, that is not how the world works. There is a line between fiction and reality. I'm curious as to who represents which, if Diana is the real world while Teeth is the fantasy, or if it is the other way around with Diana as the created girl and Teeth as the harsh reality of abuse, abandonment, and over-harvesting of natural resources.
Love has no rules, no boundaries, no borders. Teeth loves as a child loves, without restraint or wondering why it will only hurt in the end. The romance in this book is rather subtle, and I feel you're welcome to believe it's there or not, but if it wasn't, I don't think Rudy would've done what he does.
Freedom is elusive. How do we obtain it? How do we escape when the world becomes too painful? Rudy craves an escape from his family life, an escape from his brother's illness, while Teeth deserves freedom from the pain he suffers but he won't leave because he loves and won't dare leave a certain something behind.
This book is what I expect from Hannah Moskowitz. Raw prose leads to raw characters, raw emotions, and being left wondering what just happened and why your heart has been left broken and bleeding at your feet. I expect honesty and reality, the idea that nothing is perfect, that all we can hope for is living the way we want to, living free and safe, human or fish. It's weird little books like these that become cult classics, and I hope that happens with Teeth.
(I purchased a copy of this book.)