Thursday, April 22, 2010

Red and White Roses

Tender Morsels

Written by: Margo Lanagan

Released: October 14, 2008 by Random House Children’s Books

Summary: 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?

This book was not only hard to get into but it was incredibly disturbing at parts, overly graphic, and morbid. Add to the top of that that with the annoying trait of having multiple first-person perspectives where the transfer was anything but obvious or smooth at times, and you have this book.

That being said, I’m not entirely sure what to think about this book. While I enjoyed how it played with the Snow White and Rose Red fairy tale with just a hint of Beauty and the Beast – quite amazingly well actually – it was hard to get into the rhythm, which made reading it a stop-and-go venture. Seriously, it took me well over a week to finish reading it and I read several books in-between. I think it had something to do with the language – though beautifully written – the way that the townspeople spoke and how it was translated to the page; Babby should be baby and mebbe is maybe and there are so many more.

I also wouldn’t classify this as a YA book… or at least it’s an older YA book not meant for the twelve-year-olds who are venturing into the YA world. Stress on the Adult in YA. The content consists of bestiality, incest, rape, abortion, abuse, and death in such vivid, though somehow alluding, detail that it’s a little disturbing to read.

The ending was a little disappointing to me but wasn’t at the same time. I was happy that Branza found someone who she could love in the real world but I was sad that Liga didn’t have the same sort of happy ending. I suppose that the ending just oozed contentment for everyone though not necessarily satisfaction.

The characters were easy to love – whey they were characters that you were meant to love – and easy to hate if that’s what the intention was. They were well crafted and realistic with their flaws.

Overall, I did enjoy reading the book though it was a little difficult at times. I might read it again later and I would definitely recommend it to someone if this was the type of story that they were looking for; though I would definitely give some warnings before-hand.

I’m going to give this book a 7/10.

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