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Nightbitch (2021)

by Rachel Yoder

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6902734,033 (3.58)12
Fiction. Literature. HTML:In this blazingly smart and voracious debut novel, an artist turned stay-at-home mom becomes convinced she's turning into a dog. • "A must-read for anyone who can’t get enough of the ever-blurring line between the psychological and supernatural that Yellowjackets exemplifies." —Vulture
One day, the mother was a mother, but then one night, she was quite suddenly something else...
An ambitious mother puts her art career on hold to stay at home with her newborn son, but the experience does not match her imagination. Two years later, she steps into the bathroom for a break from her toddler's demands, only to discover a dense patch of hair on the back of her neck. In the mirror, her canines suddenly look sharper than she remembers. Her husband, who travels for work five days a week, casually dismisses her fears from faraway hotel rooms.
As the mother's symptoms intensify, and her temptation to give in to her new dog impulses peak, she struggles to keep her alter-canine-identity secret. Seeking a cure at the library, she discovers the mysterious academic tome which becomes her bible, A Field Guide to Magical Women: A Mythical Ethnography, and meets a group of mommies involved in a multilevel-marketing scheme who may also be more than what they seem.
An outrageously original novel of ideas about art, power, and womanhood wrapped in a satirical fairy tale, Nightbitch will make you want to howl in laughter and recognition. And you should. You should howl as much as you want.
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English (26)  German (1)  All languages (27)
Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
The bite of satire is directed instead into the realm of mystic idealized communion. Nightbitch asks readers to explore the most natural (the most human and animal) parts of femininized bodies.

There is violence inherent in being feminine that I delight in seeing depicted. The development of an adult body is itself a painful and revealing act. The book dwells on what it means to be in a body capable of bringing forth new life only to be penalized for that very reason.

During most evenings I've spent with women friends, there comes a point when discussion turns to the limitations of contemporary women. Being told it is possible to have everything has not been liberating because it remains untrue.

While Nightbitch (whose eponymous self-identification reminded me of how much I love Fleabag-- show and the character) is a privileged woman aware of her privilege, she resents it. She benefits from being financially able to stay at home and focus on childcare, but her awareness of how convenience and domestic roles trap her forces her to battle her anger in a specific, limited way. She's careful not to take anything for granted, which means she feels guilty for not doing more with her education and feels like she's constantly letting down her young son.

This book is clearly not for everyone, with style, pacing, and logic that readers either hate or love. Still, I highly recommend it for the women I know used to feeling an itching all over in the middle of the night, feeling trapped by the small area they're sharing with others but unable to go outside because it is Dark and they are Woman. ( )
  ChrisReisig | Jun 5, 2024 |
Lovely, haunting, TERRIFYING for a future maybe nightbitch... ( )
  eboods | Feb 28, 2024 |
This is an acquired taste, but I ate it up all the same. A woman who never saw herself as a mother was indeed that now and the process was intricate and often painful. She surmised her process as an artful change with elements of raw and animalistic processes. Did I identify with any of it? Yes, as I define myself as a feral housewife. Maybe there is a unique breed of women, myself included, who see themselves vastly different from what we believe to be the mass.
Don't pick this up if you are after gore and suspenseful mystery. Pick it up with an open mind and a willingness to accept a very different approach to self evolving pains and acceptance. ( )
  cmpeters | Feb 2, 2024 |
Went into this one not knowing what to expect, since most of the werewolf-themed books I've read have been in the tropey, young-adult category. But this book blew me away. I might not be a mother, but the main character's experiences with motherhood were so realistic and gut-wrenching, reminding me of my own mother who also gave up her dreams and was never the same as a result.

MM/Nightbitch, thankfully, manages to pull herself out of this pit of despair, not without great personal obstacles - from trying to balance work with child-rearing, to struggling as a stay-at-home mom, to finally realizing and asserting her self-worth. The way she rediscovered both her human and animal natures, the way they intersected within the complexity of a woman and mother, and the way she made peace with this complexity, had me cheering and emotional at the end. No, she's not a perfect character by any stretch, but who of us is, really? She's a startling metaphor for what happens when (1) we allow ourselves to silently chafe too long under the often insensitive constraints of society, and (2) the beauty and power that can result when we come to terms with who we are. And that's a message I didn't know I needed to hear. ( )
  Myridia | Jan 19, 2024 |
I felt seen, I felt disturbed. All together different. A mother.

The story is told from the perspective of "the mother", who feels/who IS so erased, we don't even know her name. It's about the violence done unto and by women upon becoming mothers. Very visceral and raw. ( )
  decaturmamaof2 | Nov 22, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
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FOR MY MOM
&
FOR ALL THE MOMS
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When she referred to herself as Nightbitch, she meant it as a good-natured self-deprecating joke - because that's the sort of lady she was, a good sport, able to poke fun at herself, definitely not uptight, not wound really tight, not so freakishly tight that she couldn't see the humor in a lighthearted not-meant-as-an-insult situation - but in the days following this new naming, she found the patch of coarse black hair sprouting from the base of her neck and was, like What the fuck.
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Fiction. Literature. HTML:In this blazingly smart and voracious debut novel, an artist turned stay-at-home mom becomes convinced she's turning into a dog. • "A must-read for anyone who can’t get enough of the ever-blurring line between the psychological and supernatural that Yellowjackets exemplifies." —Vulture
One day, the mother was a mother, but then one night, she was quite suddenly something else...
An ambitious mother puts her art career on hold to stay at home with her newborn son, but the experience does not match her imagination. Two years later, she steps into the bathroom for a break from her toddler's demands, only to discover a dense patch of hair on the back of her neck. In the mirror, her canines suddenly look sharper than she remembers. Her husband, who travels for work five days a week, casually dismisses her fears from faraway hotel rooms.
As the mother's symptoms intensify, and her temptation to give in to her new dog impulses peak, she struggles to keep her alter-canine-identity secret. Seeking a cure at the library, she discovers the mysterious academic tome which becomes her bible, A Field Guide to Magical Women: A Mythical Ethnography, and meets a group of mommies involved in a multilevel-marketing scheme who may also be more than what they seem.
An outrageously original novel of ideas about art, power, and womanhood wrapped in a satirical fairy tale, Nightbitch will make you want to howl in laughter and recognition. And you should. You should howl as much as you want.

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