Customer Reviews for

Tender Morsels

Average Rating 4
( 23 )
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(13)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

A darkest before dawn kind of beautiful

Brutal does not even begin to cover it. Liga's life with her father is a nightmare. It is clear that she is repeatedly raped by her father. It is not graphically described in the text, but is in the forefront of Liga's thoughts often and so often "discussed." The miscar...
Brutal does not even begin to cover it. Liga's life with her father is a nightmare. It is clear that she is repeatedly raped by her father. It is not graphically described in the text, but is in the forefront of Liga's thoughts often and so often "discussed." The miscarriages he forces her to have through the use of teas and herbs, on the other hand, are described in graphic detail. The fact that Liga has no idea what is happening to her when she miscarries is, I think, part of why they are described in such detail. Even though she thinks about it often, her mind shies away from the acts her father performs on her. Her shame and self-preservation together keep the detail out of these account. As she slowly comes to realize that the rapes, teas, miscarriages, her monthly blood, and babies are all related, each of these acts in her past are revisited. And things don't even get better after Liga's father dies! Left alone in their cottage with only her infant daughter for company, Liga is gang-raped (again, not graphically described, but not exactly glossed over either) by a group of town boys. This is what finally makes her want to end her own, and her baby's, life.

That's the opening of the book. It's hard to read.

The first time I checked this book out of the library, I couldn't read the whole thing. Long before the gang-rape and attempted suicide, I returned the book. I didn't decide to check it out again until the Common Sense debacle here at the Barnes and Noble website. Still, I didn't get around to actually checking it out until a few weeks ago. I was determined to get through the horrible parts so that I could see Liga in her heaven, and after reading all of that, I needed to see Liga in her heaven. So many other readers had said that the wretched beginning is worth it once you get to the rest of the story , not to mention that I figured the whole book couldn't be ruined by the opening, given its many awards.

It is worth it.

The rest of the story is a fairytale. It is actually based on Snow White and Rose Red. Once Liga's daughters are old enough to have personalities, Tender Morsels becomes their story. It is about Branza and Urdda learning who they are as people and learning how to make their own way in what is, literally, their mother's world. Their story is beautiful, and I think the ugliness that preceeds it helps to make it so. Urdda grows up to be the awesomely headstrong and smart young woman that I always look for in book. I want a whole other book full of her, especially once she leaves her mother's heaven. Branza's nice too, but I clearly have my favorite.

But here is my dilemma: By the end, I really liked this book and I would love to recommend it, but to whom? I don't agree with the Common Sense rating that was displayed at Barnes and Noble, that Tender Morsels is not appropriate for anyone under 18, but I do think that I may hesitate to recommend it to young adults that I do not know extremely well. That said, this book will have its readers, both teen and adult.


Book source: Philly Free Library

posted by Lawral on May 14, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Tender Morsels - yet another depressing teen read

I won't go into the plot points as other reviewers have noted them already. My issue is that after all the trauma Liga went through, I want her to have a happier ending than being acknowledged as a good mother of Branza and Urdda. I think part of the issue is that thi...
I won't go into the plot points as other reviewers have noted them already. My issue is that after all the trauma Liga went through, I want her to have a happier ending than being acknowledged as a good mother of Branza and Urdda. I think part of the issue is that this book is written like a fairy tale and I expect to have a satisfying ending to such books - not necessarily happy, but at least satisfying. For instance, I like "The Dead-Tossed Waves" by Carrie Ryan, yet another post-apocalyptic, dystopic teen read; the ending is not happy but it is satisfying. This is a book that I would not recommend lightly to anyone and, furthermore, I feel that I would have been better off not to have read it. I don't need to be this upset over a teen book.

posted by cories on May 23, 2010

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  • Posted May 14, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A darkest before dawn kind of beautiful

    Brutal does not even begin to cover it. Liga's life with her father is a nightmare. It is clear that she is repeatedly raped by her father. It is not graphically described in the text, but is in the forefront of Liga's thoughts often and so often "discussed." The miscarriages he forces her to have through the use of teas and herbs, on the other hand, are described in graphic detail. The fact that Liga has no idea what is happening to her when she miscarries is, I think, part of why they are described in such detail. Even though she thinks about it often, her mind shies away from the acts her father performs on her. Her shame and self-preservation together keep the detail out of these account. As she slowly comes to realize that the rapes, teas, miscarriages, her monthly blood, and babies are all related, each of these acts in her past are revisited. And things don't even get better after Liga's father dies! Left alone in their cottage with only her infant daughter for company, Liga is gang-raped (again, not graphically described, but not exactly glossed over either) by a group of town boys. This is what finally makes her want to end her own, and her baby's, life.

    That's the opening of the book. It's hard to read.

    The first time I checked this book out of the library, I couldn't read the whole thing. Long before the gang-rape and attempted suicide, I returned the book. I didn't decide to check it out again until the Common Sense debacle here at the Barnes and Noble website. Still, I didn't get around to actually checking it out until a few weeks ago. I was determined to get through the horrible parts so that I could see Liga in her heaven, and after reading all of that, I needed to see Liga in her heaven. So many other readers had said that the wretched beginning is worth it once you get to the rest of the story , not to mention that I figured the whole book couldn't be ruined by the opening, given its many awards.

    It is worth it.

    The rest of the story is a fairytale. It is actually based on Snow White and Rose Red. Once Liga's daughters are old enough to have personalities, Tender Morsels becomes their story. It is about Branza and Urdda learning who they are as people and learning how to make their own way in what is, literally, their mother's world. Their story is beautiful, and I think the ugliness that preceeds it helps to make it so. Urdda grows up to be the awesomely headstrong and smart young woman that I always look for in book. I want a whole other book full of her, especially once she leaves her mother's heaven. Branza's nice too, but I clearly have my favorite.

    But here is my dilemma: By the end, I really liked this book and I would love to recommend it, but to whom? I don't agree with the Common Sense rating that was displayed at Barnes and Noble, that Tender Morsels is not appropriate for anyone under 18, but I do think that I may hesitate to recommend it to young adults that I do not know extremely well. That said, this book will have its readers, both teen and adult.


    Book source: Philly Free Library

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2012

    Excellent Read

    For all the complaints and warnings that this book is graphic, unless my Nook is skipping pages, it is graphic in the way most of Tarantino's movies are graphic-there is the suggestion of brutality and violence, but the bulk of it is happening "out of frame"-and your mind fills in the violence, "witnesses" it, of it's own accord.
    That said, I found this book incredibly moving, and cried throughout the journey of Liga and her daughters. Healing, finding one's place in the world, and holding on to the things in your life that are good while your heart is breaking were all things that I took away from reading it.
    The prose was a bit hard to get into at first, but as I devoured the book from cover to cover in about 5 hours or so, obviously not THAT hard.
    Highly recommended-yes, even for teens, who know or suspect a lot more about the darker sides of life than we give them credit for.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Tender Morsels...Changed My Life

    I have to agree with everything littleperson wrote.let me tell you for years I was in a pit of despair,unable to break free of its grip but then I found this book.And a miracle happened.I could go on with my life and something changed in me.I just...I can't explain it.Tender Morsels is just breathtaking and I have to say that it is a spark of hope in a dark world. If you don't believe me read this book.Find out for yourself.And experience the most beautiful piece of literary work ever written.Live this book.Taste this book.Become this book.Yes this book.Tender Morsels.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 18, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Tender Morsels

    This book is one of the most beautifully and thoughtfully written works of art ever to touch down on the face of this earth. I live this book. I breathe this book. I feel this book deep within me. How can I better explain Tender Morsels?... Life. Live. Breathe....Tender Morsels.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 23, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Tender Morsels - yet another depressing teen read

    I won't go into the plot points as other reviewers have noted them already. My issue is that after all the trauma Liga went through, I want her to have a happier ending than being acknowledged as a good mother of Branza and Urdda. I think part of the issue is that this book is written like a fairy tale and I expect to have a satisfying ending to such books - not necessarily happy, but at least satisfying. For instance, I like "The Dead-Tossed Waves" by Carrie Ryan, yet another post-apocalyptic, dystopic teen read; the ending is not happy but it is satisfying. This is a book that I would not recommend lightly to anyone and, furthermore, I feel that I would have been better off not to have read it. I don't need to be this upset over a teen book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 14, 2012

    Good revision

    This was a nice re-telling of the Snow White and Rose Red Fairytale; tho not the Snow White of our Western lexicon. I prefer books that, like all fairytales, address deep, often self conscious struggles. Tender Morsels does not disappoint.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 15, 2012

    Inappropriate for intended age group.

    I am nearly always a fan of retellings of classic fairy tales. Nearly always. Honestly, I can't say whether I hated this novel or loved it. It certainly is not a novel for just anyone, and I definitely don't think it's appropriate for the younger side of the Young Adult age range. In fact, I'm pretty sure the themes in this book (incest (forced), more rape, hints of bestiality, forced abortions, suicide contemplation, sodomy (again...forced), gang rape...) make it way too intense for the younger set and is perhaps a touch too over the top for some adults. That said...

    Liga is a character you want to see persevere. You want to see her thrive and live and just -be- with no further atrocities committed against her. My heart really did ache for her. That's really the only reason I kept reading - I did have to find out what happened to the poor girl.

    I think that though Lanagan tended toward overly detailed and graphic scenes in some cases (namely the rape, forced abortions, other sexual encounters) and added in a ton of superfluous verbiage, the bones of the story were good. There are some scenes in the book that are just a real delight to read so I am definitely glad I didn't give up after the first two chapters. Some of the characters are incredibly well thought out (and some not) and I think the interplay between characters and personalities was well done. The dialogue was a bit stilted and not entirely believable, but it wasn't completely horrible either. All in all, I think a few more editing sessions would have ironed things out nicely.

    Hopefully without giving away too much, I will say that I absolutely hated the ending of the book. Really? After all that? Ugh. It was so incredibly unfulfilling.

    As far as recommending this book to anyone - no, I absolutely would not. I'm not the squeamish type when it comes to reading tough topics and I'm absolutely not one to say a book should just disappear from the shelves, but the world would not be worse for it if Tender Morsels simply ceased to exist.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 4, 2011

    Incest and rape do not a fairy tale make.

    I bought this book based on reviews and awards it had received. I want my money back. I don't want to read about incest and abuse topped off with gang rape in an adult book, but I seriously do not want it in a teen/young adult book. The fact that the character is 13 years old at the beginning of the book when the nightly rape by her father and forced abortions occur puts this in the "teen" catagory, but it certainly isn't appropriate. My copy is going in the trash.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Tender Morsels

    Wow, this book. Words cannot even describe how I feel about this book. I have to agree with everything littleperson and Hatter99 said, because honestly I could not have said it better myself. This book must have fallen straight from heaven; it is the most beautiful thing I have laid eyes on in a long time. My life was a nightmare of epic proportions before this book, but reading this book brought me out of my half life and allowed me to embrace life and live it to its fullest. I don't know what else I can say about this book, other than it is a thrilling, captivating story that anyone would be lucky to gaze upon.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 5, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent storytelling.

    This book is intriguing. At first I was put off by the violence endured by the Liga and the sadness of it. But the characters and the story were too interesting to put this book aside. The book is not an easy read. The conversations are written in a odd manner of speech, but are colorful. The first-person narratives are not unlike short stories, all centering on a common theme, and are very well done. It is a rather mature storyline. I don't think that it's for just any young adult, the themes are too dark, too complicated, sometimes disturbing. An older teen, or an avid reader, would appreciate it more. It could possibly be appropriate for survivors of abuse. But it is not for the "happy-ending" seeking reader.

    It has piqued my interest in the author and will explore her other works.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 13, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by LadyJay for TeensReadToo.com

    Liga has been mistreated all of her life. Her father is a monster; preying upon her at night in the midst of his drunken stupors. Liga's mother is dead, and cannot protect her daughter from the wickedness in the world. <BR/><BR/>Because of this, Liga is made a mother too early. In an act of desperation, Liga decides to kill her first child, believing that she will be better off in another place. A magic "moon-babby" takes pity on Liga and offers her an alternate universe to raise her daughters. <BR/><BR/>For many years, Urdda, Branza, and Liga are safe; no one can do them harm. Eventually, the boundaries of their world are infiltrated, and the three women must leave their paradise. Their new task; to survive in a world full of both cruelty and kindness, something that Liga thought she would never have to face again. <BR/><BR/>The basis for TENDER MORSELS is the story of Snow White and Rose Red. Two sisters must battle a dwarf and rescue a man from a witch's curse. Lanagan has included these pivotal plot details while still making the story her own. <BR/><BR/>There are many interesting twists that Lanagan has included in the novel. Her use of vocabulary and language is also very unique. The story may appear daunting to readers at first, but those who give it a chance will be greatly rewarded.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2008

    an engaging tale.

    Single mom Liga Longfield has barely survived her father's sexual molestations and a gang rape although emotionally she is on shaky grounds in spite of living in an apparent heaven. Her daughters are polar opposites as Branza is calm and soothing while the bored Urdda is ready to take on the world they left behind.---------------- Meanwhile their isolated haven soon has a treasure hunting visitor, a 'little man' who comes and goes. Others also arrive to include a kind teenage boy who transforms into a bear and nasty bear-man. Fearing the intrusion, Liga can do little when her now teen Urdda wants to leave for the exciting life of the 'vivid people'.--------------- This is an intriguing dark character study that looks deep at the human psyche through a lens of ¿two border worlds¿ representing the extremes of humanity one side is abusive and brutal, and the other is caring yet boring. Liga has seen both sides having been molested and raped, and now is living in a gentle realm raising her children. She fears for her daughter who wants a taste of the wild side, having had that taste shoved down her throat with sexual abuse. Although the plot can turn overwhelmingly moody and introspectively slow at times, TENDER MORSELS is an engaging tale.------------- Harriet Klausner

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    Posted October 27, 2010

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