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 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.

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    Posted October 22, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 24, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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