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Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan

Tender Morsels

by Margo Lanagan

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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» See also 121 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 73 (next | show all)
So far this is an amazing, opium haze of a story. I'm about halfway through, and its just lovely. But this is another one of those books that make me wonder about YA as a category... do I think that teenagers would like it? I think some older teens and college aged readers would...but the language is difficult, even at times for me (and I consider myself quite an experienced and patient reader). But it seems more like a literary/experimental novel to me. But then again, perhaps if it had been marketed as such, it might not have sold quite as well. And I certainly want Ms. Lanagan to have ALL the money she can for such a beautiful book. ( )
  aliceoddcabinet | Jul 25, 2015 |
Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan is a rather earthy reworking of the Snow White/Rose Red fairy story and with it’s incidents of incest and rape is not for everyone. While this book was based on one of my favorite fairy tales, I admit to getting very little enjoyment from this read as I found the storyline rather convoluted and often confusing.

I think that adapting these type of stories must be very difficult but I couldn’t help but feel like the author was trying too hard to match her story with the fable with the result that at times her hard work showed too clearly. Perhaps my love of the original fairy story has warped my viewpoint but I was hoping to actually like the story more than I did.

Although Tender Morsels was marketed as a YA read, I thought the themes were very adult dealing as it did with how brutal life can be. There were parts that were both funny and tragic, but there was also a little too much perversion, cruelty and darkness included that left me feeling quite uncomfortable with the story. However, this is a lushly written book that faces up to the dark side of life and although I personally didn’t like it, it is a strongly written story that conveys a powerful message. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Jan 16, 2015 |
This one is a mind bender for sure, but if you have the patience and enjoy fantasy, it's a very worthwhile read. I ended up really enjoying it, but I know a lot of people don't like it. ( )
  Tahleen | Feb 16, 2014 |
I was really excited to read this book because I love fairy tale retellings. This is a fairy tale retelling of Snow White and Rose Red. I have heard mixed things about this novel and after reading it I can understand why. Some parts are beautifully written and some are incredibly boring.

Liga has had a horrible childhood and preteen existence. At fifteen she has a small child (who is her father’s) and is pregnant with another (from rape by town boys) when a magical being grants her life in her personal heaven. In this peaceful place, that is Liga’s ideal world, she raises her two daughters Branza (Snow White) and Urdda (Rose Red). Urdda is especially eager to seek out adventure and when a very manlike bear shows up, Urdda decides there must be a way out of this world. As the two worlds start to collide things begin to unravel.

Okay let’s get the controversial issues out of the way. Yes there is a lot of uncomfortable material in this book. Liga is raped by her father many, many times and abused by him after her mother dies. Her father forces abortion on her more than once. These scenes aren’t explicit but you know what is going on. At first Liga doesn’t think much of it, just that she doesn’t like what her dad does in a kind of ambiguous way, but as she grows older she realizes how wrong it was. Is it pretty and fun to read about? No. This is however written about is a tasteful way that comes off more as sad than as sensationalist. I don’t think it’s a bad thing for young adults to read about rape and abuse, it helps them know when things are wrong and what types of situations to avoid.

Liga is then raped by a bunch of town boys one of which is colored. There has been a lot of uproar about the fact one of the rapists is colored. This confuses me because she is raped by multiple boys. Most of them are white and one is colored. She happens to get pregnant with the colored rapist’s child. This child ends up being Urdda who is “red-skinned” and wild and causes a lot of trouble. Many people see this as racist for some reason, but I think they need to consider the original fairy tale. Snow White (Branza) is always portrayed as the rule follower and is always as white as snow in hair and face. Rose Red (Urdda) is always portrayed as having some sort of red feature (hair, skin color, whatever) and is the wild rule breaker. I saw this whole issue as more of Lanagan being true to the fairy tale that she was retelling than really isolating a certain skin color of person. Also most of the rapists and evil people in this story are white...so how is that racist? Anyway, that’s just my take on it.

Okay, now we have most of the controversial issues out of the way. Let’s talk about the story. Liga is a victim, she was raised that way and she has trouble choosing for herself. Liga, likes having someone to tell her what to do. When bad things happen to her she deals with them and moves on, it is practical and very sad all at once. She is definitely used to no one caring if she is in pain. She tries to raise her daughters differently, but trapped in her personal Heaven there isn’t a lot of conflict around to teach them how to deal with real life.

Branza and Urdda end up both being strong characters in their own ways and I enjoyed them a lot. Both of them are a bit rebellious and learn different ways of coping when they are forced to leave Heaven and make their way through the conflict that is the real world.

I liked how there was a time difference between the two worlds, this difference in time flow added a lot of interesting aspects to the story. I liked how the two worlds were tied together by certain commonalities.

The beginning of this book is beautifully written and wonderfully paced. However for me things started to fall apart in the middle of the story. We start to jump around willy nilly between different points of view. Sometimes we hear from Branza, Liga or Urdda...then we also start to hear from the Dwarf and the boys who dress up as Bears.

This is where things start getting a bit weird. The boys who dress up as Bears for Bear Day in the real world turn into real bears when they fall into Heaven. There one of the bears befriend the three women. This gets weird because Liga kind of falls in love with Bear. The women do not know these Bears are men. Then second Bear comes to Heaven and he likes to grope Branza with his bear paws and mess around with the female bears in the forest. Not only is some of this kind of odd and disturbing...it just gets plain old boring. I mean really we could have cut 200 pages out of the middle of this book and been just fine; the pacing was just completely off.

Well, I have already written a book about this book...so I am not going to say much more. It’s kind of a shame the middle was so bogged down because some of this book is beautifully written and there are some really neat ideas in here.

Overall some parts were beautiful, some parts were downright weird, and some were just plain old boring. I love some of the ideas here, but the story just lags at points. This was one of those books by the time I got to the end I was just absolutely relieved to be done with it...it felt like it went on forever. I wish I could recommend this, but I just don’t think it is a book most people will enjoy. ( )
  krau0098 | Jan 18, 2014 |
Beautiful, but very difficult to get through. ( )
  seekayou | Aug 20, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 73 (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 editionsconfirmed
Flosnik, AnneNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Page, MichaelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For my sisters, Susi, Jude, and Amanda
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There are plenty would call her a slut for it.
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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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.
Haiku summary

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)

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