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How to Be Eaten: Book summary and reviews of How to Be Eaten by Maria Adelmann

How to Be Eaten

A Novel

by Maria Adelmann

How to Be Eaten by Maria Adelmann X
How to Be Eaten by Maria Adelmann
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  • Published May 2022
    304 pages
    Genre: Literary Fiction

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Book Summary

This darkly funny and provocative novel reimagines classic fairy tale characters as modern women in a support group for trauma.

In present-day New York City, five women meet in a basement support group to process their traumas. Bernice grapples with the fallout of dating a psychopathic, blue-bearded billionaire. Ruby, once devoured by a wolf, now wears him as a coat. Gretel questions her memory of being held captive in a house made of candy. Ashlee, the winner of a Bachelor-esque dating show, wonders if she really got her promised fairy tale ending. And Raina's love story will shock them all.

Though the women start out wary of one another, judging each other's stories, gradually they begin to realize that they may have more in common than they supposed...What really brought them here? What secrets will they reveal? And is it too late for them to rescue each other?

Dark, edgy, and wickedly funny, this debut for readers of Carmen Maria Machado, Kristen Arnett, and Kelly Link takes our coziest, most beloved childhood stories, exposes them as anti-feminist nightmares, and transforms them into a new kind of myth for grown-up women.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Adelmann travels the well-worn paths of some of the Brothers Grimm's most famous fairy tales with stylistic panache and 21st-century verve. However, it's her nuanced consideration of our own culpability that makes this book unique...Both a meditation on trauma and a sendup of our society's obsession with scripted reality, this book sings." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"In this modern retelling of classic fairy tales, Adelmann shatters 'happily ever after'…and brilliantly brings to light the historical exploitation and manipulation of female trauma in the media. With the current fascination with true crime and reality television, this powerful first novel holds up a mirror to the reader and challenges our perceptions of truth." - Booklist (starred review)

"Adelmann's funny and poignant debut novel invokes classic and modern fairy tales to portray a group of traumatized women...Revisionist fairy tales are nothing new, but Adelmann's are elevated by accomplished prose and wry humor. It's a fresh and inventive gem." - Publishers Weekly

"A sardonic, poignant novel that moves in unexpected directions across each and every page, How to Be Eaten is a whip-smart invitation to reimagine familiar fairy tales in a modern age." - Shelf Awareness

"Even better than it sounds, How to Be Eaten presents vividly real women haunted by their fairy tale pasts in this deliciously angsty debut. Pure fun pulsing with a dark heart." - Rachel Yoder, author of Nightbitch

"Gorgeously written and mind-bending, How to Be Eaten is fiction as a magic trick: by redrawing these archetypal characters with modern, vivid, and gothic specificity, Adelmann reminds us that, be it enchanting or devastating, our myths remain." - Julia May Jonas, author of Vladimir

"In this wildly imaginative and trenchant novel, female characters from mythic fairytales emerge as modern-day heroes capable of reclaiming their lives from the trauma of their past. A deft exploration of trauma, authorship, the power of storytelling, and the healing potential of connection, How to Be Eaten will stun readers page after page, offering an unforgettable, empowering, and above all entertaining tale of reclamation and transformation." - Christie Tate, New York Times bestselling author of Group

This information about How to Be Eaten was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Maria Adelmann

Maria Adelmann is the author of the short story collection Girls of a Certain Age, which explores the many impossible choices of modern girl and womanhood. Her work has been published by Tin House, n+1, Electric Literature, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, The Threepenny Review, the Indiana Review, Epoch, AQR, MQR, and many others, and has been selected by The Best American Short Stories as a distinguished story. How to Be Eaten is her first novel.

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