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Milk Teeth

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This is for those with teen angst, those in first-love relationships, those surfing along the honeymoon waves, and everyone stuck in suburban sensationalism thinking they know and feel everything after watching a single Youtube video essay on internet culture. If you enjoy a book in which every other sentence is an overwritten flowery, cheesy metaphor or simile, then this is the one for you. Succulent and Sensual, Jessica Andrews is back once again depicting another turbulent and transitory life of a young 20-something woman. Milk Teeth is a story of loneliness, belonging, identity, and overall love - and how we’re deserving of it.

Who was almost too caught up in her own head (which I guess is a byproduct of the fact that it’s written in first person -duh Dylan! Sensual and wryly perceptive, the acclaimed author of Saltwater delivers a deftly wrought and emotionally devastating account of a life lived in the shadows and a potential salvation in the Mediterranean sun. Addressed in second person to the narrator's lover, the writing is gilded with a vulnerable immediacy, blisteringly honest and visceral. Andrews deftly covers the toxic diet and body culture of the early 2000s with our young protagonist, who, for most of her life, has been subjected to this culture from magazines, television shows, friends and family in her life etc. Of all the senses, it is taste that is evoked the most, descriptions of food a sustained motif throughout as the protagonist battles with her own discomfort with eating, the learned feeling that to restrain oneself is commendable, and grows to embrace a different relationship with appetite, through food cooked for, and by, her new partner, and through the offerings of Barcelona – small plates of tapas, tinned peaches on the beach, breakfast pastries, barbequed calçots at a barrio street party.She meets her (also unnamed) partner in London, follows him to Barcelona, but interspersed with the chronology of this are memories of her earlier life, growing up in the north east of England to a backdrop of diet culture and celebrity ‘heroin chic’, moving to London, then becoming a nanny in Paris, scraping an existence and skipping meals. the bulk of the novel follows an unnamed narrator, as she embarks on a new relationship with a phd student. A story set between two cities but written with such smoothness you’re wrapped up in the narrative and taken on a journey through our main character's life that the location and change in the timeline aren’t difficult to keep up with at all. Her equally nameless lover is an academic who, soon after meeting her, is offered a position in Barcelona. In the sticky Mediterranean heat, among tropical plants and secluded beaches, she must decide what form her adult life should take and learn how to feel deserving of love and care.

I loved the short chapters and the way they jumped around to show girlhood, teenagehood and young adulthood as a women in its entirety. Their relationship takes her from London to Barcelona and the precipice of a new life, full of sensuality. Where one sense of denial in a socio-economic context is foisted upon the protagonist, the answer is often controlling the only thing one can: one’s body. They see each other often: he loves to cook; she fights her constant struggle to eat freely and with appetite.Not to entirely bash the book, in its late Lana Del Rey tendresse, I think the themes of language, voice, and how trapped they are in the body are compelling.

some aspects are reminiscent of saltwater, from the parental / child relationship to the distinct northern voice, but it feels like milk teeth goes further as andrews' wades into fears, darkness and uncharted territory without resolution. She’s meandered from job to job, much like a down to earth version of Plath’s fig tree, charading a lifestyle beyond her means in various settings. The plot is non-chronological, flipping between our unnamed protagonist’s present and past relationships as she attempts to come to terms with her own wants from life. this is another brilliant book to add to the 20 year old girl struggling through life, chasing highs, grappling with love and identity and figuring out who they are list. Concerned as it is with want and hunger, in all manifestations, each part of this novel represents the whole.The plot is non-chronological, flipping between our unnamed protagonist's present and past relationships as she attempts to come to terms with her life expectations, wants and regrets, predominantly that she's not living up to her potential.

The friendships were stupidly realistic, with drifting apart, with parties that make your eye twitch thinking about now, and with so much love and dependency. The book is heavy with heartbreak, loneliness, want and desire, but there's plenty of love and positivity too. Growing up, her father is abusive towards her mother, money something that is controlled, while her and her friends attempt to fit a constrictive beauty standard that’ll have them fold their sharp, jagged edges into a tiny box. An intimate exploration of class, precarity, sex, power and, above all, of the fragility and exuberance of love. In 2020 I read Saltwater and it’s sat with me ever since, its lyrical beauty has held me captive since reading and I’ve been craving more of Andrews’s painfully honest prose since I finished it.I want you to know how integral it has been to the way I move through the world, how I learned to push shame and anger deep into by body and yet speaking about it brings it into the present, when all I want is to leave it behind. every chapter ending with her “itching with want”, “soaking you in want”, “filled with want” we get it, you want. Obs menar inte att förminska en ätstörning men den skrivs fram som ett litet sidosp��r utan att på riktigt bemötas eller verka ha några konsekvenser. I needed to learn how to look at the woman inside me without flinching, learn how to feed her and care for her, to recognise her as me.

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