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Cutting Teeth

2.96  ·  Rating details ·  2,349 ratings  ·  408 reviews
One of the most anticipated debut novels of 2014, Cutting Teeth takes place one late-summer weekend as a group of thirty-something couples gather at a shabby beach house on Long Island, their young children in tow.

They include Nicole, the neurotic hostess terrified by internet rumors that something big and bad is going to happen in New York City that week; stay-at-home dad
Hardcover, 322 pages
Published May 13th 2014 by St. Martin's Press (first published 2014)
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Average rating 2.96  · 
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 ·  2,349 ratings  ·  408 reviews

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Full disclosure: I think Julia is just wonderful. I know her glancingly; we interact on the various social medias and have met a couple of times. She's an amazing literary force in Brooklyn, and I was just giddy to get my hands on this book.

In fact I was so giddy, I didn't really take a moment to see what the book was about, which was pretty boneheaded of me. Because what it's about is a slew of parents and their very young children. And because I am kind of a heartless asshole, those are just
May 10, 2014 rated it it was ok
This is a book that was right up my alley. Mothers with young children? Check! Mommy group? Check. Unfortunately, what seemed like a perfect fit ended up being just the opposite.

Fierro has a great writing style. It's quite readable and her dialogue is spot on. My technical issue with this book is that the various narratives (I think there 6 or 7 narrators) never really comes together for me. I think that Fierro tried to bring everything together at the end, but it just didn't work for me.

Now, he
Larry H
Feb 06, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
I'd rate this 3.5 stars.

Full disclosure: I received an advance readers copy of this book from NetGalleys in exchange for an unbiased review.

It takes a talented author to keep you reading a book in which you're not very fond of many of the characters but you're so drawn into the plot you want to see where it leads. That is definitely the case with Julia Fierro's Cutting Teeth—while I found nearly every one of the characters tremendously unappealing because of their behavior and their attitude, I
Caeli Wolfson
Dec 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Finally, THE book that captures the complexity, intensity, and situational dilemmas of early mid-life. Set at a beach house at summer's end, CUTTING TEETH is, on the surface, about parenting young children and relating to other parents and to one's self. But it's more expansive and deeper than that, too: it's also about identity, the vicissitudes of romantic and familial love, sex at early-mid-life, class tensions, and the unease of being in possession of life's greatest bounty while still wonde ...more
Jun 08, 2014 rated it it was ok
This is a novel about privileged Brooklyn parents and a Tibetan nanny in their employ for a summer weekend together. She quotes the Dalai Lama and speaks in broken, childish, singsong English. Her name is Tenzin.

I did finish this book but not without skimming some long passages of exposition meant to humanize the shrill, unlikable characters by giving them somewhat sympathetic back stories. Perspectives shift a lot but there wasn't a single point if view shift I was looking forward to. Some cha
Sep 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is an enjoyable, thoughtful book, one that made me laugh and nod in acknowledgment (the description of watching a toddler poop is terrific and totally accurate! Ha.), and gnash my teeth at the characters' (believable) dysfunction. Fierro has created fallible, complex and even frustrating characters. (Lordy, am I glad I don't raise my kid in Brooklyn! Those parents are cuh-razy!) I loved the shifting POV and the way it allowed me access into the private, conflicted minds of these people. I e ...more
Mar 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Fierro's debut is witty, wise and wonderful. It's also, at times, excruciatingly real, and many parents will recognize themselves and their struggles in her characters, who are funny, irreverent, and far from perfect. Their mistakes--some mundane, and some of great consequence--make for a thoroughly entertaining read. In addition to the well-drawn characters, another strength of CUTTING TEETH is its pacing. I read this every night before bed, and thanks to the beautifully calibrated pacing, I ju ...more
Lolly K Dandeneau
Jan 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Oh the woes of modern day parenting! Nicole decides to host a weekend getaway during summer's end at her parents beach house in Long Island for the parents and children of her playgroup. Shamed that the house isn't up to the groups high standards, Nicole can imagine just how disappointed her friends must be. Nicole has some serious issues, but so do the rest of them. Rip is the stay at home daddy of the group, who is yearning for another child, his career wife- not so much. There is also a dange ...more
Sarah Anderson
Nov 21, 2014 rated it did not like it
I never knew I could hate a book as much as I hated this one. If everyone who doesn't have kids yet read this book, the human race would go extinct. I don't know who these people are that hate their children and their spouses and themselves so much, but I sure don't know them, nor do I want to.
Jan 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
(3.5) A hip, fun look at the ‘before’ and ‘after’ of becoming parents in the modern age, set over a New York City play group’s 2010 Labor Day getaway at a beach house. We get chapters from the perspective of eight out of the ten adults on the vacation – which means that you get a great range of perspectives and experiences, but you don’t necessarily go very deep with any of the characters. Only one of the highlighted characters is male, for instance, whereas other daddies are nonexistent or bare ...more
Robin Black
Oct 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Julia Fierro plunks her readers into a complete universe - a social sphere of the parents of Brooklyn, a child-centric society in which thirty-something adults seem torn between wanting to maintain their own identities and wanting to merge entirely with their kids. It's a subject that goes beyond the basic description of this book: A "mommy" group (including one daddy) spend a weekend together with their families at the beach where many mixed feelings, physical passions, and old tensions all com ...more
Jodi Paloni
Oct 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I opened this book over a plate of pasta, alone one night at home for dinner. On page 56 I finally looked up, cleaned the kitchen, and climbed into bed so I could keep going. The novel is a domestic page turner. I could relate to all of the POV characters, of which, there are many. Julia employs the many voices of parents in a preschool play group to shine the light on human foibles and vulnerabilities as the characters try in vain to look like they have it all together. 'Cutting Teeth' portrays ...more
Mar 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
4.5★ Loved this debut from Julia Fierro! It is a super good story about contemporary mothers (and fathers), parenting, friendships and what we all bring to the plate as parents. It is so well written, and the characters are so *alive* with so much personality that I still can't figure out which one was my favorite (Allie & Susannah have the edge...). I have a strong feeling that it is going to be a big hit! I could barely put it down. I will surely be recommending it.

Many thanks to NetGalley and
Julia Fierro
Feb 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Still think it's a decent book. ;)
May 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
When I began reading Julia Fierro's debut novel Cutting Teeth, I thought it was going to be a novel about a bunch of whiny, overprotective, rich, Brooklyn parents and their spoiled (yet gifted or challenged) children. I didn't see how I could relate.

Then as I read the book, I saw how Fierro brought these characters I probably would not befriend to vivid life in her novel. It begins with something I wish more multi-character novels would have - a chart explaining the who the characters are and ho
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out

In Cutting Teeth by Julia Fierro, five members of a Brooklyn playgroup, their partners and children, gather in a Long Island beach house for a weekend's respite, but what they hope will be a relaxing late-summer getaway devolves as the their alliance crumbles under the strain of secrets, resentments and unresolved tensions. Exploring parenthood and the guilt and sacrifices that underpin it, relationships, sex, ambition, career, domesticity and desire, this is an shrewd portrait of modern day, up
Jes Singer
Jul 03, 2014 rated it liked it
Huh. This vacillated between a 1/2 and a 4 for me. It is a character study, of fairly uninteresting characters - NYC parents of young children (yes a category I happen to fall into) together for a weekend at a beach house on Long Island. Not plotty at all (truly nothing happens save for a couple of near-misses with the children) so not my favorite type of book to begin with, and I found most of the characters loathsome and unrelatable. Told in shifting viewpoints of 7 of the parents and one Tibe ...more
Jan 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: chick-lit
Another one of those parenting angst novels where almost everyone is completely unlikeable except for the glimmer of compassion the author stirs in the reader. It is a train wreck people.
Probably my biggest complaint is that the author should have culled some of the problems a little bit. There is Nicole:the OCD/ apocolypse obsessed mommy, Leigh: the former high class + current school fund embezzler mommy, Tiffany: the slutty, trashy had a rough life but social climbing at any cost mommy, Susann
I'm pretty sure being a new mommy played a huge part, but I dug this book pretty hard. It's the old classic bunch of people who don't know each other well shut up in an isolated beach house with the addition of monsters (their kids). And then we get to read about meltdown after meltdown, popcorn in hand. It's excellently paced and structured, and while I liked not a single character, the jumping-around POV chapters at least made me feel like I knew them. The language is simple but good, and the ...more
Apr 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderfully observed, gripping and humorous novel that had me in its thrall. Fierro gathers her characters together, gives them each a secret agenda, and then the reader gets to watch them interact. The book is full of tension and also sharp, sharp humor. Fierro lampoons modern parenting even as she reveals its trials, its many manifestations, and its heartfelt moments. Her characters are neurotic, confused, ambitious, lonely, and occasionally ridiculous, but that's what makes them hum ...more
Sep 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So loved this debut novel. Characters that are broken and trying very hard to appear to have it all. Each "mommy" and Rip doing their best, often feeling alone, clinging to each other and sometimes the internet for answers and reassurances. I loved the variety of couples, married, partners, lesbians, stay at home dads, wealthy and wanna bees. A weekend full of surprises.

Full review on the blog to come!!
Jan 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Go pick this up on Tuesday when it comes out, or if you want a bit more persuasion, you can read my longer review here:

Either way, just read the book. It's smart and funny about the struggle to be an adult while raising children and figuring out what it means to be satisfied when what looks like a perfect life from the outside isn't quite all it's cracked up to be.
Mar 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A turner about what it means to be a parent, a spouse, a friend and just simply a person trying to make sense of this beautiful world at this unique moment in time. Fierro's writing is gripping and packed with insight, humor and intelligence. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Andrea MacPherson
Feb 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed the novel. Authentic characters, good use tension and pacing, very readable. Strong voice, strong style. The ending and Epilogue let me down a little, but overall a great read.
Andrea DeAngelis
Can't wait to read this!
Caroline Lafrance
May 28, 2020 rated it it was ok
Nope... I kept thinking while reading the book, how can these people all be friends?! No one is nice! Lol! Every time I thought something interesting would finally happen, nothing ever did.
Just too unbelievable for me that a group like that would actually get together at a beach house... !
nomadreader (Carrie D-L)
Jan 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
(originally published at

The basics: Set over one weekend in late summer, Cutting Teeth is the story of a Long Island beach house vacation for a Brooklyn playgroup of four-year-olds and their parents.

My thoughts: Despite having a large cast of characters, I never struggled with keeping the characters straight. Alternating narration from most of the parents certainly helped, as the reader gets to know both the personalities of each character as well as their i
Mar 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
Parenting today has myriad challenges and the mommies and daddies in Julia Fierro’s CuttingTeeth are dealing with just about all them – along with their own issues.

We all know parents who would not be friends except for the fact that their children are friends, or go to the same school, or are in the same playgroup. That seems to be the case in Cutting Teeth, where the mommies – and one daddy – probably wouldn’t hang out together at all if not for the playgroup.

When Nicole – who is convinced a c
Feb 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Late in the summer, a group of ���mommies������ and a couple daddy���s decide to take a trip to the beach together with their children. Each of the parents has issues either in their personal lives or in their marriages, but they all put on a front to seem like they are leading the perfect lives.

Nicole suffers from severe anxiety and is worried about a possible terrorist attack in NYC based on some things she has been reading on the Internet. Her husband is not happy about her phobias (which ar
Jun 18, 2014 rated it did not like it
Half a star because the cover is kindof cool, but that's being generous. I hated this! I raced through the last 100 pages this morning just so I could be done with it, and when I finally finished I pushed it away and exclaimed, loudly: "yuck!"

It is yuck. The characters are miserable and they made me feel miserable and I'm just not sure I get any of the alleged humor Fiero's trying for. Why would anyone want to spend a weekend with these horrible frenemies?

My friend Walker said, in her review of
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Julia Fierro is the author of the novels The Gypsy Moth Summer(St. Martin’s Press, 2017) and Cutting Teeth (St. Martin’s Press, 2014).

A graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, where she was awarded a Teaching-Writing Fellowship, Julia founded The Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop in 2002, and it has since become a creative home to over 3,500 writers in NYC, Los Angeles and Online. Sackett Street wa

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“lie. Tiffany stroked the long braid hanging down Tenzin’s back.” 0 likes
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