Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Book Review: The Tooth Fairy

Media Type: Print Book
Title: The Tooth Fairy
Author: Graham Joyce
Publisher: Tor Books
Pages: Paperback; 320
Release Date: October 15, 1998
Source: Purchased at a thrift store
Content Screening: Sexual Content

HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who are comfortable with sexual situations in a coming of age novel.

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
The disquietude in Graham Joyce's coming-of-age tale is that of having too much power as a child--the kind of power that turns your slightest wishes into mayhem. This power is granted to the rather ordinary and fearful member (neither the smartest nor the strongest) of a trio of friends growing up in small-town England by his stinky and enigmatic night visitor, the Tooth Fairy. The charm of this British Fantasy Award-winning novel is in his subtle and unsentimental portrait of a supernaturally benighted childhood. As Ellen Datlow writes in Omni, "Joyce immediately hooks his readers from the very first page with a small sharp shock and holds the reader with engaging characters and an air of menace. This tooth fairy is ... mischievous and destructive, representing our own worst aspects.

It is difficult to put into words exactly how I feel about this book.

On the one hand, I thought it was very well written, and that is something that I appreciate in a book. The characters are very easy to relate to, and their individual personalities make them interesting to read about. Sam is the awkward one, Clive the smart one, Terry the athletic one, much like the groups of boys we all knew in school. They play off of one another and make the story flow in a really nice manner.

However I never felt fully immersed in the story. It might be because it centers mainly around the lives of male characters, but I'm not sure that was the only reason. The whole issue of the "Tooth Fairy" was odd and confusing at times. It was hard to see the line between reality and imagination. There were also portions of this book that were just flat out sexual in the oddest way.

I realize that this book is meant to be like the cautionary tales of old. As I said, there are many sexual references in this book (an adult novel to the core) that are important to the overall story, but oddly placed. At its deepest level, this is a book about growing into adulthood and all the trials and tribulations that come along with it. In that respect, yes, it is a very good story. However I cannot give a perfect rating to this book for the above reasons. Still, give it a read if it interests you!

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

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