“Tender Morsels” is being marketed as a young adult novel but I will advise most of my middle-school students to wait until they are older. They will probably ignore me, being middle school students. I would hesitate to suggest it to some of my friends, knowing their histories. There is truth here, and some of it is ugly. This is one thing literature can do. Tell the truth.
It is beautifully written, a retelling of “Snow White and Rose Red”. Liga is 14, has lost her mother and is abused by her father. He has locked her away and uses a local witch’s potions to abort her children. Liga has no knowledge of what is happening to her. It is just her life, just what happens, an accurate description of what can happen emotionally to young people who have been abused. Her father dies, she gives birth to a child. Her life continues, she is gang-raped by local boys. Savage and dark, Lanagan writes of evil. Liga can not continue in this life and is saved by magic. She is safe, but what does she give up for her safety? Eventually magic offers revenge and redemption. The fantasy is woven so tightly into this story that it became real for me, and I love the bears. I enjoyed Lanagan’s “Black Juice” and “Red Spikes”, now I am a true fan.
From page 247..”She swung her head to look at us, her muzzle all diamonded from the spring, drops in her eyebrows and frosting the edges of her ears. Her face was a big as a haunch-platter. I tried remembering there was teeth in it, and a brain behind, and behind that who knew how hungry a stomach this early in the spring, after her long time in the underworld with only hell-moss and hell-fungus to eat?”
Nymeth at Things Mean A Lot.