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Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan
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Tender Morsels

by Margo Lanagan

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,047798,051 (3.78)122
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Showing 1-5 of 79 (next | show all)
This review and others posted over at my blog.

I knew Tender Morsels would be a dark retelling (and really, fairy tales started out as dark stories for adults, so that’s fine by me) but I didn’t expect this book to start with rape and incest. Look, I’m not normally one for giving trigger warnings, but I wasn’t expecting multiple scenes throughout the book to contain rape, incest, forced abortions, sodomy and borderline bestiality. Had I known that prior to reading, I likely wouldn’t have started this book and if I weren’t buddy reading this, I would have DNF’d it. Now you know and can make your own choices.

Oh, I’ll also add that Amazon classifies this as young adult??? And recommends it for readers 14 and up??? I disagree and would classify this as an adult novel and would caution against readers younger than 16 picking it up.

It’s not as though I’ve never read a book with gruesome subjects before, but the way Lanagan handled these subjects seemed heavy handed and unnecessarily detailed. Did I really need to know about a man trapped in a bear’s body pawing down the dress of a young teen girl so that her breast was exposed so he could lick it? NO, no I didn’t.

I believe she could have pulled off the darker subjects by leaving more to the reader’s imagination rather than spelling it all out. Again, maybe if presented in a different way or with prior knowledge of the more unsavory scenes, none of this would have bothered me all that much. This wasn’t a pleasant book to read and while I appreciated Lanagan’s world building and nod to the tales of old, when she wasn’t grossing me out, I was bored, bored, bored.

Liga’s character arc came to a halt once she settled into her magical heaven and her daughters, Branza and Urdda were only slightly more interesting. Had this novel been half as long, maybe it would have been a bit more compelling. It seemed like so much time was devoted to daily chores and the wanderings of the girls, even after they left the magical world for the real one. I never really felt invested in any of the characters, beyond feeling incredibly bad for how Liga’s life started off.

Once back in the real world, Liga’s story picks up again, but only barely. Her main functions seem to be remaining confused and distressed about having returned to the world of her childhood and to continue to hide her horrible past from her daughters.

I liked the concepts of the dual worlds that Lanagan created, but couldn’t find much else about this book that I enjoyed. I don’t understand why some of the men who found their way into the magical world turned into bears, except maybe because that has something to do with the original Snow White and Rose Red tale? The ending was so unsatisfying that it made me mad and if the cover weren’t so pretty, I’d have tossed this off the back porch (a la Bridget Jones and the Edge of Reason.) I’ll settle for putting it on my swap site instead.

If you think you can handle the subject matter of this book and you’re interested in a rather drawn out retelling, maybe you’ll like this. I can’t say I’d recommend it, but if you’ve read it and enjoyed it, I’d love to hear why! I may still give Lanagan’s other work a chance, however, because I do like her writing, just not the content. ( )
  MillieHennessy | Jul 26, 2017 |
A wretchedly dark and grim re-telling of the old “Snow-White and Rose-Red” fairy tale (not to be confused with the Disney Snow White), in which teen mom Liga takes her two daughters (begot by incest and gang-rape) into an alternate reality to raise them away from the world. Far too many nasty goings-on and penis references for my taste. (Dwarves and rods and bears, Oh My!) I never would have continued reading this if I was not stuck in the airport. ( )
  memccauley6 | May 3, 2016 |
I'm stuck somewhere between three and four stars on this one. To be honest, I'm glad I walked away with a positive impression. The beginning scenes and introduction of characters left me wondering what on earth had I done? I felt bad for the poor souls in Tender Morsels' world(s) but I wasn't sure I would stick it out with them until the end. I'm really glad that I did. Once I realized what was going on, I began to seem all the redeeming qualities I was meant to. I actually want to read it again already, to put some more of the pieces together. ( )
  bjoelle5 | Feb 10, 2016 |
I really don't like this fairy tale/fantasy genre and I thought this story was particularly gruesome. However, the narration was extremely well handled and the writing was quite incredible. If the story had been more along the lines of my tastes this would be a 5 star; if the writing weren't so well done it would be a 1 star. ( )
  Jen.ODriscoll.Lemon | Jan 23, 2016 |
I really don't like this fairy tale/fantasy genre and I thought this story was particularly gruesome. However, the narration was extremely well handled and the writing was quite incredible. If the story had been more along the lines of my tastes this would be a 5 star; if the writing weren't so well done it would be a 1 star. ( )
  Jen.ODriscoll.Lemon | Jan 23, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 79 (next | show all)
[N]othing in the world of adult summer reading can compare with the revolutionary content of a novel you are likely to find in the young adult section of your local bookshop. Tender Morsels ... is funny, tragic, wise, tender and beautifully written. It also left me gasping with shock.
added by melmore | editThe Guardian, Meg Rosoff (Jul 31, 2009)
 
Drawing alternate worlds that blur the line between wonder and horror, and characters who traverse the nature of human and beast, this challenging, unforgettable work explores the ramifications of denying the most essential and often savage aspects of life. It isn’t easy, but this book is nevertheless a marvel to read and will only further solidify Lanagan’s place at the very razor’s edge of YA speculative fiction.
added by melmore | editBooklist, Ian Chipman (Aug 1, 2008)
 

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Margo Lanaganprimary authorall editionscalculated
Flosnik, AnneNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Page, MichaelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
For my sisters, Susi, Jude, and Amanda
First words
There are plenty would call her a slut for it.
Quotations
You are pure-hearted and lovely, and you have never done a moment's wrong. But you are a living creature born to make a real life, however it cracks your heart.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
A young woman who has endured unspeakable cruelties is magically granted a safe haven apart from the real world and allowed to raise her two daughters in this alternate reality, until the barrier between her world and the real one begins to break down.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375848118, Hardcover)

Tender Morsels is a dark and vivid story, set in two worlds and worrying at the border between them. Liga lives modestly in her own personal heaven, a world given to her in exchange for her earthly life. Her two daughters grow up in this soft place, protected from the violence that once harmed their mother. But the real world cannot be denied forever—magicked men and wild bears break down the borders of Liga’s refuge. Now, having known Heaven, how will these three women survive in a world where beauty and brutality lie side by side?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:07 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

A young woman who has endured unspeakable cruelties is magically granted a safe haven apart from the real world and allowed to raise her two daughters in this alternate reality, until the barrier between her world and the real one begins to break down.… (more)

» see all 6 descriptions

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