Cutting Teeth, by Julia Fierro

Reviewed for Chick Lit Central

You think when you’re a grown-up, life should get easier. The same rules we lived by when we were children no longer apply. Seeking acceptance, feeling at times like you’re the outcast in the group, or not feeling as though you fit in are the emotions of angsty children and young adults, something we all look forward to getting away from the more we age, the more we mature.

Truthfully, I don’t think the rules change. I think we do, gradually. As an adult we seek out the acceptance from our peers, even when we least expect it or notice it. I’m a mother of two, and I’ve been in those shoes multiple times. Trying desperately to find a connection with someone, a friendship. Not wanting to feel so alone in my mommyhood. Needing to bond with others who are dealing with the same day-to-day challenges I experience.

In Cutting Teeth, we read about those experiences through the eyes of 30-somethings who regularly attend a mommy play group together. Nicole, the obsessive compulsive one, suggests an end-of-summer weekend out at her family’s beach house, inviting the play group and their children. While she grapples with her own demons and a less-than-supportive husband, Tiffany, another mom in the group, tries hard to portray an image that deep down, she doesn’t feel she lives up to. She’s the troublemaker of the group, stirring the pot at any given moment. She reminds me a lot of an ex-friend of mine who shared those similar qualities, so I found myself pretty annoyed with Tiffany a lot of the time, but found it interesting that upon delving more into her background we find out why she’s the way she is. It’s a reflective moment.

Rip, the group’s resident stay-at-home daddy, really wants another child with his career driven wife, but she’s not having it. He’s also grappling with insecurities where his preschooler is concerned. Allie is trying hard to be supportive of her very pregnant wife, but doesn’t feel a maternal bond with their twin boys. She is questioning her role as a parent, right up until a near-tragedy forces her to look at things from a new perspective. And Leigh has a dark secret she’s kept hidden for a very long time, fearful that someone from her group will discover it and it will ruin her family.

Julia Fierro doesn’t sugar coat anything. This book is written truthfully and with great depth, an honest look into the lives of regular couples who are dealing with the trials and tribulations of life after parenthood. It’s the stuff most of us choose not to talk about in our own play dates with other parents, but it’s there, all the same, lurking on the surface. Thankfully, I’ve formed fantastic friendships with a few of my own mommy friends over the years. It takes trust and honesty. Being real with others. As I age, I am caring less and less about the acceptance and approval of other moms. We’re all different, yet in so many ways, we’re a lot alike. Cutting Teeth reminds us that it’s okay to look at things from a new perspective. And to be honest about it. No judgement necessary.

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