Tag Archives: Julia Fierro

Debuts out in Paperback


I often wrestle with when to review a book…when it first comes out, and there is a lot of hype about the title, but it is only available in hardback or via e-book, or later after it comes out in paperback, but when it is no longer being actively reviewed by others.

I know some of you read on Kindle, so for you the price (and weight) of a book is always the same. But if you read a paper book there is a difference between buying a hardback and a paperback. And I’m curious, for paper book readers, do you wait for new releases to come out in paper before you buy them? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

And if you are interested in the history of the hardback – paperback release tradition, I found this article in the Economist.

Debuts from 2014 are coming out in paperback this summer. The paperback release is a second coming for a book, and for those of you in NYC, Julia Fierro is having a party at BookCourt for the paperback release of Cutting Teeth tomorrow night, July 7th. Cutting Teeth is a comical book about a group of parents who go on a long weekend together with their kids. The group will never be the same.

Other debuts out now (or soon) in paper:

Everything I Never Told You, by Celeste Ng, one of my favorite reads of last year, and made it to the NYT bestseller list.

Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson, one of my favorite reads of this year, will be out in paperback in mid-August. This book also just won a medal of recognition from the American Library Association.

The Miniaturist, by Jessie Burton. I didn’t review this one, but it was well received last year. It is set in the 17th century and is about a woman who gets a miniature replica of her home as a wedding gift and real-life dramas get played out in miniature form.

We Are Not Ourselves, by Matthew Thomas. I also did not review this one yet, mainly because of the heft. At over 600 pages, I was daunted when I picked up the hardcover in the bookstores, but now that it is out in paper it feels more accessible. And it has also been well received. It tells the story of an Irish-American family in post-WWII Queens.

To paperbacks in the summer!

Photo credit: By Frank H. Nowell (California Building), via Wikimedia Commons


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Cutting Teeth, by Julia Fierro


Cutting Teeth

By Julia Fierro

St. Martin’s Press, 2014

322 pages

Nicole (mother of Wyatt) invites her Friday afternoon mommy group (and their toddler-aged kids and spouses) to her family’s ramshackle Long Island beach house for Labor Day weekend. The mommy group will never be the same.

Set over the course of four days, the book is narrated from each of the four mother’s perspectives, plus the perspective of the one “mommy daddy” in the group and one nanny, a Tibetan woman named Tenzin, giving the reader access to all of their worries, judgments, former dreams and future ambitions. Nicole is an obsessive worrier who plans this getaway in part because she believes some sort of catastrophic event will happen over the weekend and she wants to be away from New York City when it happens. She manages her anxiety with marijuana and anti-anxiety pills. Two of the mothers, Tiffany and Leigh, are best friends but are struggling over how to share Tenzin’s work schedule. Susanna, mother of twin boys and pregnant with a third, is a former artist, who feels disconnected from her wife Allie, a successful artist. And Rip enjoys his unique status in the group, while hiding his attraction to Tiffany, and trying to feel connected with his wife, Grace, who doesn’t want a second child as much as he does.

I much enjoyed Cutting Teeth and found all the characters to be very human, longing for connection and visibility in the world. This book reads like a time capsule of 21st century parenting—Fierro does a great job bringing to life the contemporary child-parent dynamic, where parents spend so much energy tending to and doting on their children. She also explores the tensions that arise in couples when one partner works and the other is the primary caregiver. The book is not very plot driven, the story revolves around the interpersonal dynamics of the group, but Fierro captures domestic details so well that reading this book felt like I was watching a movie. And she also has a terrific sense of humor. She’s able to get inside the heads of her characters while poking at them at the same time. I don’t think I’ve laughed out loud so much while reading a book since Nick Hornby’s About a Boy.

Fierro lives in Brooklyn and is the founder/director of the Sackett Street Writer’s Workshop. I had the good fortune of meeting her last year, when she came to talk with my writers group.

A friend gave me a copy of this book.


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Never Too Old to Debut

A new blog, 35 over 35, launched at the end of last year and it celebrates writers who debut over the age of 35. As a “late bloomer” writer myself, I always enjoy reading about people who challenge the notion that great books are written only by the young. Another blog in this vein, which I wrote about a couple years ago, is Bloom, which focuses on first books by authors over forty.

The books on the 2014 35 over 35 list feature poets, novelists and non-fiction writers. Some of the writers I have mentioned in this blog already, including Mira Jacob and Smith Henderson. Another on the list is Julia Fierro, whose debut, Cutting Teeth I read over the holiday and will be reviewing later this month, but some of the authors were new to me. A few that stood out were:

Accidental Jihad, by Krista Bremer

A memoir about an American woman who gets pregnant with a Libyan man and moves to Libya to live with him and his family. The book explores how two people from different cultures negotiate their love for each other.

I am Pilgrim, by Terry Hayes

A debut thriller about a retired forensic crime investigator, who is brought out of retirement to stop a terrorist who wants to destroy America.

Mating for Life, by Marissa Stapley

A novel about a former folk singer who disdained monogamy, having three kids with three men, until in her 60s she falls for a man who wants to marry her.

Happy New Year all!


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