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The Tooth Fairy by Graham Joyce
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The Tooth Fairy

by Graham Joyce

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5232119,336 (3.73)37
  1. 00
    A Book of Tongues by Gemma Files (GirlMisanthrope)
    GirlMisanthrope: Both authors are so adept at horror that you are left with a tangible feeling of "ick" at book's end.
  2. 00
    The Exchange by Graham Joyce (Booksloth)
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» See also 37 mentions

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While out playing with his two friends Sam inadvertently loses a tooth. Determining to find out if the tooth fairy really does exist he places it under his pillow before falling asleep and has managed to keep the loss from his parents. Unfortunately for Sam (and the fairy) he awakens to find the tooth fairy skulking about his room and after a brief verbal exchange the fairy takes the tooth and leaves a sixpence in return (this is middle England of the 1960's) and admonishes Sam not to tell anyone of his existence or bad things will happen. What follows is a coming-of-age story with the continual appearance of the mercurial tooth fairy especially at momentous times during Sam's maturing from young boy through adolescence and into young adulthood. A lot of these experiences are not pleasant for anyone involved as the author takes us to the darker edge of what it's like growing up.

I really enjoy Joyce's writing and he's not afraid of making his readers uncomfortable with the situations and thought processes of his characters. He sets the tone perfectly with the fairy tale allusions being firmly grounded in reality. The friendship and travails of the three boys is very well handled and evoked some memories of my own childhood. They go through some tough times but always manage to remain together throughout. I enjoyed the book immensely but not everyone will and I will leave this review with a warning that sexual content and profanity feature heavily in this novel so if that's not for you then you should probably avoid. ( )
  AHS-Wolfy | Mar 23, 2016 |
Sam and his friends are like any gang of normal young boys. Roaming wild around the outskirts of their car-factory town. Daring adults to challenge their freedom.

Until the day Sam wakes to find the Tooth Fairy sitting on the edge of his bed. Not the benign figure of childhood myth, but an enigmatic presence that both torments and seduces him, changing his life forever.
  bostonwendym | Mar 3, 2016 |
A Jungian coming of age story that straddles both the genre of horror and (dark) fairytale. Well-written and complex, it follows a boy's journey from childhood into that of a young adult. The brilliant part of this book, is that reader is never quite sure if the main character (Sam) is imagining the tooth fairy (which would make she/he a metaphor for the loss of Sam's childhood), or if the tooth fairy is indeed real. I would have given the book 5-stars, the writing was very good, but there were parts of the story I found a bit too graphic for my tastes. Definitely worth a read, however. ( )
  ClarissaJohal | Apr 25, 2015 |
I wish I could give 4.95 stars. The blurbs on the back of the book state : "Brilliant and unclassifiable", "Sharp, freshly imagined" "Complex and funny". All do a very poor job telling us about this book. They make is sound mundane. There is nothing mundane about this. I love the way Graham Joyce blurs the lines between "reality" and "fantasy". I find myself asking what do I think is real...what IS fantasy? There were points in this book that were laugh out loud moments, it could not be helped. There were moments of quiet horror..."Did I just read what I read?". But most of all for me, this is a story about friendship. True friendship with all its trials and tribulations. Gorgeous. ( )
  jaddington | Feb 16, 2015 |
Graham Joyce surely is one of the most underrated authors...is this possibly because he is so hard to market? Is he horror? Is he fantasy? Or possibly `social surrealism'...?

What ever he is his stories are strange, magical and original and he fast becoming one of my favourite authors.

He likes to instill in the reader a feeling of lingering uneasiness …. ‘You come away from the book feeling your perception of the world has been just been knock slightly askew away from what you previously thought to be normal’ Graham refuses to come down on one side or the other of the ideas he presents in his novel, it is all about ambiguity and uncertainty

Sam, Clive and Terry are ordinary (ish) boys growing up in the 1960s until one day when Clive punches Sam in the mouth and knocks out a tooth. …Sam puts the tooth under his pillow at bedtime…as you do

He wakes up during the night and first lays eyes on the Tooth Fairy “oddly dressed and smelling of horse’s sweat and chamomile”.

Tinkerbelle this Fairy is not …it is an angry, bitter and viscous looking creature from nightmare.

Thus begins a strange, disturbing sometimes touching relationship with the Tooth Fairy as it dogs Sam’s footsteps through childhood and into adolescence.

The Tooth Fairy, whose appearance, mood and sex change constantly makes for a rather unpredictable, mercurial companion - sometimes protecting Sam other times tormenting him, bullying and threatening him and his family. The Fairy is a character in its own right with its own moods and emotions, jealously, lust, spite, anger and touching moments of tenderness. The author skilfully coveys the wild, unpredictable primeval nature of the Tooth Fairy.

Without the supernatural element, the adolescent adventures of Sam and his friends would have made a brilliantly funny ‘rites of passage’ novel…all petty vandalism (though making pipe bombs in your Dad’s shed is hardly petty), growing pains and awakening sexuality.

The novel is brilliantly structured, well characterised and entirely compelling and the elegant writing at times is almost prose with a whimsical and nostalgic tone.

This novel shows that horror fiction doesn’t not have to be high octane ‘gore splatter’ serial killing zombies but that it can be beautiful, compulsive, hilarious, tragic, magical and very, very funny …oh very, very rude! ( )
  jan.fleming | May 2, 2013 |
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added by doomjesse | editKirkus (Dec 15, 1997)
 
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To Christopher Fowler
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Clive was on the far side of the green pond, torturing a king-crested newt.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312868332, Paperback)

The disquietude in Graham Joyce's coming-of-age tale is that of having too much power as a child--the kind of power that turns your slightest wishes into mayhem. This power is granted to the rather ordinary and fearful member (neither the smartest nor the strongest) of a trio of friends growing up in small-town England by his stinky and enigmatic night visitor, the Tooth Fairy. The charm of this British Fantasy Award-winning novel is in his subtle and unsentimental portrait of a supernaturally benighted childhood. As Ellen Datlow writes in Omni, "Joyce immediately hooks his readers from the very first page with a small sharp shock and holds the reader with engaging characters and an air of menace. This tooth fairy is ... mischievous and destructive, representing our own worst aspects." --Fiona Webster

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:31 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

A dark novel on an English boy's relationship with a ghost. At times the ghost is protective, at times he corrupts, encouraging Sam to engage in sex, including masturbation. Eventually the ghost turns into a woman and sleeps with the boy. By the author of Requiem.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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