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Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan
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Tender Morsels

by Margo Lanagan

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Showing 1-5 of 72 (next | show all)
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 |
I am left feeling disturbed and sad. I'm not sure which of these emotions is stronger.

How many times must poor little Liga get her heart shattered, Ms. Lanagan?! How many times must her very soul be shattered before our eyes?! How many?!

Tender Morsels takes place in two very different worlds. The real world and Liga Longwood's dream world.
In Liga's dream world all the people that wronged her or judged her are gone. Everyone here is happy, healthy, and peaceful. And why shouldn't they be? This is the place of her heart's desire, is it not? There is no alcohol, money, violence, or anything that would frighten or hurt her and her 2 daughters, Branza and Urdda.
Everything bad was left behind in the real world. The world she escaped, with the help of a "moon-babby", after a horrible deed was committed on her when she was 15.
Liga knows what it's like outside of this world. She doesn't want to return.

Her youngest daughter Urdda, however, knows nothing of the outside world. She was born in this safe place. All she knows of the other world are stories her mother tells her.
This other place fascinates Urdda.
Her hopes of going to the other world are further sparked when she sees a "littlee-man" disappear in the river. She tells herself that next time she sees him, she will follow him, for surely he knows how to navigate both worlds.

Just remember, little Urdda, curiosity killed the cat.
If this dream place were somehow taken from these ladies, would they be able to survive out in the real world? Where neighbors can't be trusted and people don't always have the best intentions, no matter how nice they seem? Or will the cruel ways of this world destroy them?

Tender Morsels is a retelling of Snow White and Rose Red.
Incest, rape, bestiality.
If those 3 words make you queasy this book isn't for you. At all.
I can't believe it is considered a YA book...

Like I said before, this book left me both disturbed and sad.
I was either thinking of ways to scrub my brain clean of certain things I had just read or trying not to cry. One of the main characters in this book, Liga, goes through so much just in the first few chapters that I didn't think she would survive it all. I began to question if I was going to be able to make it through this book. Seeing as how it is... extremely "dark".

I was fully prepared to rate this 3.5 stars until I read a paragraph narrated by wild-child Urdda as she passed by her mother's old cottage and it made me tear up. Even now as I'm remembering it it's bringing tears to my eyes... If the ending didn't damn near break my heart I would be giving this book 5 big ol' stars right now. But, sadly, I'm not. I can only take so much sadness in a book, you know.

My heart is breaking for Liga. She was nothing but an innocent and beautiful child who had to endure nightmares since a very young age.
I truly believe life is not fair. And I have never believed it more. ( )
  cindyXIII | Aug 1, 2013 |
Fifteen-year-old Liga has suffered terrible abuse, sexual and otherwise, at the hands of her father. When he dies, she experiences a brief period of relief, only to find herself subjected to still more suffering in the form of a brutal rape by five young men who regard a girl alone as an easy target. Hurt and full of despair, she goes into the woods with the intention of committing suicide, only to encounter an unexpected magic that sends her into another world, a world free of danger, fear, and unkindness, where she can raise the two daughters who resulted from her abuse in peace. But that world is not exactly real, and it is not possible to stay there forever.

Although you wouldn't guess it from that description, this is based on the fairy tale "Snow White and Rose Red." (Not to be confused with "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," which is an entirely different story, featuring six more dwarfs than this one.) It's an odd fairy tale, really, and it perhaps makes for a bit of an odd novel, but it's an absorbing one. It's very well written, with compelling characters and a subtle sense of fairy tale enchantment, and by the end I found it rather emotionally affecting. But it's also a disturbing story, full of distressing events. Needless to say, those who find descriptions of sexual assault and related horrors unbearable to read should stay away. Those scenes generally aren't exactly graphically depicted, but, man, they don't need to be. And the novel's constant depiction of men -- of most men -- as dangerous sexual predators is deeply depressing, and, for me, at least, almost got to be a little too much. ( )
1 vote bragan | Jul 29, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 72 (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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Dedication
For my sisters, Susi, Jude, and Amanda
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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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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:04:38 -0400)

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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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