Hot Best Seller

Nightbitch

Availability: Ready to download

One day, the mother was a mother but then, one night, she was quite suddenly something else... At home full-time with her two-year-old son, an artist finds she is struggling. She is lonely and exhausted. She had imagined - what was it she had imagined? Her husband, always travelling for his work, calls her from faraway hotel rooms. One more toddler bedtime, and she fears sh One day, the mother was a mother but then, one night, she was quite suddenly something else... At home full-time with her two-year-old son, an artist finds she is struggling. She is lonely and exhausted. She had imagined - what was it she had imagined? Her husband, always travelling for his work, calls her from faraway hotel rooms. One more toddler bedtime, and she fears she might lose her mind. Instead, quite suddenly, she starts gaining things, surprising things that happen one night when her child will not sleep. Sharper canines. Strange new patches of hair. New appetites, new instincts. And from deep within herself, a new voice... With its clear eyes on contemporary womanhood and sharp take on structures of power, Nightbitch is an outrageously original, joyfully subversive read that will make you want to howl in laughter and recognition. Addictive enough to be devoured in one sitting, this is an unforgettable novel from a blazing new talent.


Compare

One day, the mother was a mother but then, one night, she was quite suddenly something else... At home full-time with her two-year-old son, an artist finds she is struggling. She is lonely and exhausted. She had imagined - what was it she had imagined? Her husband, always travelling for his work, calls her from faraway hotel rooms. One more toddler bedtime, and she fears sh One day, the mother was a mother but then, one night, she was quite suddenly something else... At home full-time with her two-year-old son, an artist finds she is struggling. She is lonely and exhausted. She had imagined - what was it she had imagined? Her husband, always travelling for his work, calls her from faraway hotel rooms. One more toddler bedtime, and she fears she might lose her mind. Instead, quite suddenly, she starts gaining things, surprising things that happen one night when her child will not sleep. Sharper canines. Strange new patches of hair. New appetites, new instincts. And from deep within herself, a new voice... With its clear eyes on contemporary womanhood and sharp take on structures of power, Nightbitch is an outrageously original, joyfully subversive read that will make you want to howl in laughter and recognition. Addictive enough to be devoured in one sitting, this is an unforgettable novel from a blazing new talent.

30 review for Nightbitch

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jenny Lawson

    This book was weird as hell, even for me. But I couldn't put it down. Like Bunny mixed with Metamorphosis. This book was weird as hell, even for me. But I couldn't put it down. Like Bunny mixed with Metamorphosis.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Elle

    This sounded utterly absurd in a way that I just had to see for myself. Nightbitch is one of the most wholly original stories I’ve read in a while, and now that I’m finished I’m even pretty sure I liked it! The mother, unnamed except for the moniker she eventually claims for herself, “Nightbitch”, is an artist with a young son and a mostly absent husband. While he travels during the week for work, the mother is left alone with both her son and her own racing thoughts. Like many new mothers, she f This sounded utterly absurd in a way that I just had to see for myself. Nightbitch is one of the most wholly original stories I’ve read in a while, and now that I’m finished I’m even pretty sure I liked it! The mother, unnamed except for the moniker she eventually claims for herself, “Nightbitch”, is an artist with a young son and a mostly absent husband. While he travels during the week for work, the mother is left alone with both her son and her own racing thoughts. Like many new mothers, she feels isolated and unappreciated, veering into unfulfilled, and has nobody in her life to share these feelings with. Then she starts to grow a tail. Her body is sprouting hair in places it never has before, and her teeth feel longer, sharper. She’s experiencing new urges and can’t determine if they’re all in her head or not. Is she a mother, wife, woman—or is she Nightbitch? Are they mutually exclusive? And why are women still expected to transform and sacrifice their former selves in order to inhabit the role of somebody’s mom? This was such an interesting take on modern motherhood, the conflicting feelings and guilt and pressure put on women to be everything they were and an entirely different person all at the same time. Set against one woman’s either evolution or complete collapse made the stakes feel all the higher, and her character’s anonymity offers readers more of an opportunity to imprint themselves onto Nightbitch. No matter what side you fall on, that her persona is a cry for help or a literal manifestation, it’s hard to ignore the implications of what would have driven a new mother to that point in the first place. As for the ending, I’m not sure how I feel about it. Without any spoilers, there is a level of self-actualization for the mother, which I’m sure will be cathartic for anyone reading who relates to the character. But as someone who prefers messier endings, I have to say it was probably not the direction I would have taken the story. But I understand why Rachel Yoder made these choices and can appreciate her point of view here. I’m still really impressed this was a debut. This book has a lot to say and does so in one of the most insane ways possible. I really like that the message, whether or not you enjoy the delivery in this novel, is one that’s affirming to any mother feeling gaslit in a personal and/or societal sense. That, no, you’re not crazy, but all the bullshit you have to deal with daily definitely is. I’m going to be looking out for more from Yoder in the future. (And just a bit of a warning to everyone—this book has no chapters. There’s a handful of ‘parts’ and good amount of line breaks to act as stopping points, but for anyone who appreciates dialogue in quotations or easily consumable chapters, this book will not have that.) **For more book talk & reviews, follow me on Instagram at @elle_mentbooks!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Justin Tate

    A Kafka-esque dish of raw meat feminism, served so rare it drips with blood! This is the wildest ride I've been on outside of Six Flags. The premise of a stay-at-home mom transforming into a dog takes some time to accept, but the sooner you just go with it the sooner you can embrace your own inner animal. Go in expecting to be taken aback, to have impossible thoughts, to have the rug swept out from under you, to question your beliefs and then question your own questioning. Though there is a plot, A Kafka-esque dish of raw meat feminism, served so rare it drips with blood! This is the wildest ride I've been on outside of Six Flags. The premise of a stay-at-home mom transforming into a dog takes some time to accept, but the sooner you just go with it the sooner you can embrace your own inner animal. Go in expecting to be taken aback, to have impossible thoughts, to have the rug swept out from under you, to question your beliefs and then question your own questioning. Though there is a plot, character progression and something like a hero's quest, this is a philosophical novel more than a summer beach read. Yet the story does fly by with remarkable speed, even as it feels "meatier" than a mere 256 pages. Certainly there are books three times as long with far less to ponder. The closest thing I can possibly compare it too is indeed Franz Kafka's 1915 masterpiece, The Metamorphosis, which also utilizes a human-to-creature transformation to much symbolic delight. By the end, Nightbitch—the character—becomes a complicated hero, the face of incredible possibility and deserving of our admiration, even as she evokes horror in everyone who's been brainwashed by what the patriarchy says a woman should be. The less details you know going in the better, so I'll stop here. But if you're interested in a sizzling read that also makes you think, don't miss this novel. Also, let it linger. The more you think about it, the better it gets. I already know it'll be among my top reads this year, but as time goes on I may revise that to one of my favorite books from the last decade. Enough already! Stop reading this review and start reading Nightbitch!!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    Audiobook… read by Cassandra Campbell…. ….a professional pro who is phenomenal reading audiobooks once again!!! ….8 hours and 52 minutes If you can get past the raw meat book cover and ‘Nightbitch’ title…you just might surprise yourself and LOVE THIS BOOK AS MUCH AS ME!!! I thought it was CRAZY GOOD!! BRILLIANT… Loved loved loved it!!!! … It’s sure not lacking in Protein!! It’s nutritionally well-balanced!!! It’s funny, and weird, surreal, and inventive…. It’s also a gut-wrenching examination of ea Audiobook… read by Cassandra Campbell…. ….a professional pro who is phenomenal reading audiobooks once again!!! ….8 hours and 52 minutes If you can get past the raw meat book cover and ‘Nightbitch’ title…you just might surprise yourself and LOVE THIS BOOK AS MUCH AS ME!!! I thought it was CRAZY GOOD!! BRILLIANT… Loved loved loved it!!!! … It’s sure not lacking in Protein!! It’s nutritionally well-balanced!!! It’s funny, and weird, surreal, and inventive…. It’s also a gut-wrenching examination of early motherhood, womanhood, and the absurdity of life challenges…. Add our emotions - anger, sadness, fear, guilt, loneliness, hopelessness, forgiveness, happiness, and love. “Mama, up, Up UP” “Milky or juice honey?” “Don’t throw the rocks, honey”. A look at a normal day of motherhood….. ….There is the boredom of waking up each morning knowing the day ahead needs to be created with a child’s schedule….. what to eat, what to wear, what to play, take a walk, have a nap, take a poop, eat dinner. “She spoke in toddler talk so often — ‘poop in the potty’”… “No, poop in a diaper”, he says “Sure…..okay, she stuck a diaper on him and he went and stood in the corner to do his thing” “Wipe my butt”…. he yells! Exhaustion, greasy hair, the bloated feeling, pain in the lower back, too many sodium sugar salty cookies and/or crackers, dirty dishes, play dates, mommy adrenaline, doghood, resentment, rage, cartoon, eating, drinking, forgetting, other mommy’s, essential oils, bonkers, denial. secrets, boredom, silliness, meditation, excitement of the art she ‘use’ to make, laughter, and love. A shower? 3 days ago? hm??? She really just wanted to sit on the couch and stare out the window even for just 10 minutes. But her husband liked it when she was upbeat, talkative,… and taking care of their son. (so he didn’t have to) Her husband reported that it had been a challenge to be in a hotel all the time… (during business trips) > cry me a river!! During his business trips, she wondered if he even consider the challenge it was for his wife home with a baby by herself day in and day out for a week? Her husband was stressed out if he came home from work and the house was a mess, dinner wasn’t cooked, and his wife wasn’t looking all cute and sexy, and if there were dishes in the sink, and his son was crying. After all he needed time to decompress after driving home from work. The mother had to continue to remind herself that her husband was not a bad man but she had to consciously work at that thought. The husband had his own things to do. He needed to catch up on some mail, email, and he needed a few minutes to relax. Really? she would’ve liked to walked out of the house and gone to the local coffee shop the second he got home. I haven’t even mentioned the satire-irresistible-dogs yet….or the craving of meat…. But….. I thought this book succeeded in being brutally honest — hilarious, heartbreaking with prose I wanted to re-read and re-read. I liked it so much —I’ve already listened to most the chapters twice. I’m a HUGE NEW FAN of Rachel Yoder! 5 strong stars

  5. 4 out of 5

    lark benobi

    A kaleidoscopically rich take on early motherhood. However fantastic the happenings in the novel I never doubted for a moment the underlying truth of the protagonist's experience. Sure, this new mother at the heart of the story starts turning into a dog, literally, on the novel's first pages, but even so, as I read along, I kept thinking: 'yes, that's exactly the way it is.' A kaleidoscopically rich take on early motherhood. However fantastic the happenings in the novel I never doubted for a moment the underlying truth of the protagonist's experience. Sure, this new mother at the heart of the story starts turning into a dog, literally, on the novel's first pages, but even so, as I read along, I kept thinking: 'yes, that's exactly the way it is.'

  6. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    What did I just read?? I should have known, simply from the book cover: bizarre. Why I read it: Well, it was advertised as a story of a mother of a toddler who wants to be the best mother, but by nighttime is a big crab…well…a “bitch”. I could relate to that. What I didn’t do, is read the full description: a mother who is convinced she’s turning into a dog. Well, I never thought I was turning canine. So basically this is a story of a mother who turns feral. It’s disturbing. And woodland creatures What did I just read?? I should have known, simply from the book cover: bizarre. Why I read it: Well, it was advertised as a story of a mother of a toddler who wants to be the best mother, but by nighttime is a big crab…well…a “bitch”. I could relate to that. What I didn’t do, is read the full description: a mother who is convinced she’s turning into a dog. Well, I never thought I was turning canine. So basically this is a story of a mother who turns feral. It’s disturbing. And woodland creatures are killed for the sake of the story. But when the family cat is in peril, I got beyond grossed out. Unfortunately for me, that was 2/3 into the story. I’m invested. Where the heck is this going? Well, for those who enjoy strange art, contemporary art….you know, when a banana is stapled to a wall in the name of art, (boundary pushing art) well, perhaps you will find an artistic value to this story. This is one of the strangest stories I have read. I cannot recommend it to friends….perhaps not even foes. I’m sure there are those more artistically inclined with open minds who will enjoy this. There are gruesome portions. Animal lovers beware. Three reading days I’ll never get back 😫

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Woodbury

    4.5 stars. I have approximately one million questions I would like to ask Rachel Yoder, so it's safe to say this book got in my head in the best way. We are in the midst of a real golden age of fiction about motherhood, especially mothering young children and babies, which is much needed after we had so little of it (and much of what we did have was very romanticized). But I suspect NIGHTBITCH will stay with me for a long time. Being a stay-at-home mother to a baby or toddler can feel like somet 4.5 stars. I have approximately one million questions I would like to ask Rachel Yoder, so it's safe to say this book got in my head in the best way. We are in the midst of a real golden age of fiction about motherhood, especially mothering young children and babies, which is much needed after we had so little of it (and much of what we did have was very romanticized). But I suspect NIGHTBITCH will stay with me for a long time. Being a stay-at-home mother to a baby or toddler can feel like something separate from being human. It can feel like you are descending into a kind of animal state, where your brain no longer concerns itself with higher thought, you are simply living. Many of the books I've enjoyed about the days of early motherhood are about how difficult this can be. What NIGHTBITCH does that I found so fascinating is that it does see this as a difficult slog but it also allows our protagonist (known only as "the mother" or later "Nightbitch") to find some higher--or maybe lower?--state of being in it. For much of the book, she is stuck and frustrated. Her 2-year-old son won't go to sleep and usually ends up in her bed. Her husband leaves on weekly business trips leaving her to do everything by herself. Her friends from her previous days as an artist have left her behind. And she knows she did it all to herself by choosing to stay home, by choosing to mother her child in the way she thought was best but that now leaves her tired and stagnant and unfulfilled. It isn't a new story (though it keeps repeating because everyone, like Nightbitch, thinks it won't happen to them) but then it becomes an entirely new story. Her body and her mind begin to change, she starts to take on canine traits. Her husband is confused. Her son is delighted. At first she is scared, but soon she begins to find freedom when she gives herself over to these urges. This is where things get very strange but also very interesting. Is being a dog making her a better mother or a worse one? Is it making her more herself or less? (This is a book that has a strong surrealist bent, this is not about mental illness, promise.) Yoder spends much of the time on this tightrope, making us wonder if this is what we want for Nightbitch and where it will take her. It is often joyful, with howling and running and rolling in mud. As much as I loved the way she was changing, I never knew what would happen next and I wasn't sure how it would all come together. (If you know me, you know this is basically my favorite. Please surprise me.) Then Yoder clinched it with a fantastic ending that leans in even farther. While there's some question early on about how much of this is real, I never doubted it and it and I don't think Yoder does either. Even if you are not sold by this hook, the writing is so smart and hilarious I wanted to highlight so many pages, wanted to take dozens of pictures to share of it on social. The marketing copy calls this satire but I'm not sure if it is. It felt totally accurate to me, just right on the money in every single way. I cackled. Often. While some of what happens here will likely be unsettling for some readers, this is at heart a book about a mother who desperately loves her kid, but where that love isn't enough to sustain her through the drudgery of parenting. But if you're delicate around this topic maybe take a pass. Content warnings are really just around the killing (and sometimes eating) of small animals, both wild and domestic, because, you know, dogs. Nightbitch is not tame. For some other dark and fascinating books about motherhood, try WITH TEETH or THE DAYS OF ABANDONMENT. (I actually found NIGHTBITCH much more optimistic than either of these two, one of the things that makes it so interesting.)

  8. 5 out of 5

    Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer

    Published today in the UK 22-7-21 I found this excellent interview added new depth to my appreciation of the novel including: Jenny Offill's Dept. of Speculation as inspiration for the novel; how she walks the tightrope between whether the narrator's experiences are real, metaphor or fantasy; the use of archetypes leading to the lack of names in the novel; the use of folklore and mythological books. https://www.esquire.com/entertainment... And this performance is meant to underscore the brutali Published today in the UK 22-7-21 I found this excellent interview added new depth to my appreciation of the novel including: Jenny Offill's Dept. of Speculation as inspiration for the novel; how she walks the tightrope between whether the narrator's experiences are real, metaphor or fantasy; the use of archetypes leading to the lack of names in the novel; the use of folklore and mythological books. https://www.esquire.com/entertainment... And this performance is meant to underscore the brutality and power and darkness of motherhood, for modern motherhood has been neutered and sanitized. We are at base animals, and to deny us either our animal nature or our dignity as humans is a crime against existence. Womanhood and motherhood are perhaps the most potent forces in human society, which of course men have been hasty to quash, for they are right to fear these forces. This debut novel is an intense, visceral, searingly honest and literarily distinctive exploration of motherhood. The main character (known by the detached and wryly observant narrator as either as the mother or the nightbitch) is a conceptual/studio artist who had something of a dream job in the art world running a community gallery. When she had a baby she first carried on with her job, juggling it with expressing milk, dropping her child at a nursery where she is convinced he is left to cry and with little support from process engineer husband who is typically away Monday-Friday and who does not even take a fair share of parenting at the weekends. Eventually they decide it is not working and practically her low paying job has to be the one to go. Her undergraduate degree was from a prestigious university, better than the one he had attended. She held two master’s degrees, whereas he held none. (She also held a baby.) It shouldn’t have been a contest, and it wasn’t, was it? No, definitely not. She would never think of her husband in such competitive terms, but she did fault herself for choosing such an impractical field as studio art. How many generations of women had delayed their greatness only to have time extinguish it completely? How many women had run out of time while the men didn’t know what to do with theirs? And what a mean trick to call such things holy or selfless. How evil to praise women for giving up each and every dream. The incident that underlies the book starts one night – her young son’s screams fan “a flame of rage that flickered in her chest” and her anguished please for him to return to sleep come out as dog-like grunts and squeals. The next morning she jokes to her husband that she was a “Night Bitch” only for her observations to seemingly manifest themselves physically as she starts to grow sharper canine teeth, hair at the back of her neck, a cyst which seems to be the makings of a tail and a heightened sense of smell and craving for meat. Over time she starts to roam the local area at night and is befriended by three dogs who bear an odd resemblance to three mothers (of what in the UK we might call the Yummy Mummy type) she normally tries to avoid at the local library. She also becomes increasingly obsessed with an odd book she finds “A Field Guide to Magical Women” a guide to the “ways in which womanhood manifests on a mythical level” – but with rather than being allegorical or mythological actually claims to be based on anthropological research around the world and ways in which women – particularly mothers - “turn to the natural world to express their deepest longings and most primal fantasies”. And of course this guide also encapsulates the aims of the novel. Her behaviour becomes more extreme – going on nighttime hunting trips with both hear appearance and actions becoming more like those of some type of wolfhound. Her son eagerly embraces what he initially sees as a new game – and ends up wearing a collar, only sleeping in a kennel and eating raw meat - as it becomes part of his identity. A family feline fatality causes something of a crisis point which both causes her to examine the sacrifices made by her own mother (the narrator sharing the authors Mennonite upbringing) and how she can explore her own animal identity (and introduce it to others) by using her artistic tendencies. There is no date that this is a unusual book and I think will not appeal to all readers. Anthropocentric (particularly pet-indifferent) readers will I think be struggle with some of the dog pack scenes; while some animal lovers will I think find the fate of both pet cats and bunnies triggering. I fall neatly between the two and found this instead a memorable and effective novel. Here was a woman who now knew that life unfolded through mystery and metaphor, without explanation, who looked upon her perfect son in front of her, a person she had made with her strongest magic, standing right there in a blinding spotlight as if he weren’t a miracle, as if he weren’t the most impossible thing in the entire world. Highly recommended. PS I rather enjoyed (given my Goodreads avatar) the concept of the three yummy mummy’s and their own dog avatars – particularly that of their bubbly, blond leader The retriever outplayed the others, a beautiful sight to behold as she leapt in the air, ears alert and eyes bright, to snag a ball midair with her teeth. …. After the boy had tired of fetch, the retriever came to where the mother sat on the porch steps and placed her head gently on the mother’s leg. The mother …the retriever’s long silky blond hair, softer than any she’d ever felt, as if it had been shampooed and conditioned, then blowdried and brushed lovingly. ……… What a good, pretty, perfect dog. My thanks to Penguin Random House, Harvill Secker for an ARC via NetGalley

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    “How many generations of women had delayed their greatness only to have time extinguish it completely? How many women had run out of time while the men didn’t know what to do with theirs? And what a mean trick to call such things holy or selfless. How evil to praise women for giving up each and every dream.” I absolutely loved this book. You're going to see all kinds of genres linked to this book, but just know it's a love note to all the women who have lost themselves. The women who “How many generations of women had delayed their greatness only to have time extinguish it completely? How many women had run out of time while the men didn’t know what to do with theirs? And what a mean trick to call such things holy or selfless. How evil to praise women for giving up each and every dream.” I absolutely loved this book. You're going to see all kinds of genres linked to this book, but just know it's a love note to all the women who have lost themselves. The women who have been squeezed dry by their roles because of how this world works and where it places its value. Rachel Yoder sees you. In regards to the overall story, our main character, known only as "mother", has to expand her identity in order to have one. She is feral, primitive and acts on her most primal impulses. She becomes "nightbitch" and as the author repeatedly notes, she's fucking amazing. This book entertains, validates, and inspires. It reminds readers that sometimes you just need to sink your teeth into something carnal and bloody, and consume. After all, we've been consumed enough. Check it out. My favorite quote: "She was creator and then also the dark force that roamed the night. She was part high-minded intention and part instinct, raw flight. Hello, she wanted to say to him. I am your wife. I am a woman. I am this animal. I have become everything. I am new and also ancient. I have been ashamed but will be no more."

  10. 4 out of 5

    Edward Lorn

    CW: animal cruelty beyond measure Video review: https://youtu.be/t5cbxyy40Wk Read this one to my wife Chelle. Her review: "That was a powerful ass book. Every mother should read it." CW: animal cruelty beyond measure Video review: https://youtu.be/t5cbxyy40Wk Read this one to my wife Chelle. Her review: "That was a powerful ass book. Every mother should read it."

  11. 5 out of 5

    Montzalee Wittmann

    Nightbitch by Rachel Yoder Very disappointing! I was so looking forward to this book! The blurb and reviews were promising but it was so boring! Wasted my time!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kelly (and the Book Boar)

    I hear the drums echoing tonight . . . . For fans of The Pisces - maybe????? I wouldn’t recommend this to any of my friends, but if you liked that weird take on romance you might be a fan of this bizarro take on motherhood as well???? For those of you who don’t know – this is the story about a stay-at-home mom who starts to think maybe she’s becoming a dog. She dubs herself the “Nightbitch” (which I must admit actually made me giggle and I wish that moniker would have been around when I was I hear the drums echoing tonight . . . . For fans of The Pisces - maybe????? I wouldn’t recommend this to any of my friends, but if you liked that weird take on romance you might be a fan of this bizarro take on motherhood as well???? For those of you who don’t know – this is the story about a stay-at-home mom who starts to think maybe she’s becoming a dog. She dubs herself the “Nightbitch” (which I must admit actually made me giggle and I wish that moniker would have been around when I was a sleep deprived new mom living a nocturnal lifestyle because I would have one hundred percent called myself that) and embraces her canininity (I’m trademarking that). So this gets props for being unusual, but unfortunately being odd isn’t enough when you’re beating the dead horse of mothers being unappreciated and stay-at-home moms being even more appreciated. I’m a mom. I could relate to this (unnamed) leading lady’s struggles at times. But at the end of the day it simply was a case of . . . . . And I’m no snowflake when it comes to gratuitous violence, but the one thing I didn’t need was a dang cat murder scene. Seriously, if bitch is supposed to be a dog why she use a knife???? Mmmmmmmkay? Shock and awe never works out well when it comes to my ratings. I’ll give this 2 . . . . barely . . . . . because at least the author knew to keep it short. And because I laughed that the secret to happiness for all the neighborhood moms was assumed to be in the form of a pyramid scheme selling herbs. Back when I was on the Faceplace I totally had to block a multitude of gals I went to high school with who all of a sudden wanted to be pals and get me to drink their funky Kool-Aid.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Somewhere between 3-3.5 What a bizarre and wild ride that was... It's impossible to review Nightbitch without discussion of the headline plot point: this is the story of a mother who becomes a dog. I, probably like many others, was very curious how the author would let this whole narrative play out across a whole book and how this would be portrayed. I would almost go as far to say the whole 'turning into a dog' aspect of Nightbitch was probably the least interesting part of the book to me - it act Somewhere between 3-3.5 What a bizarre and wild ride that was... It's impossible to review Nightbitch without discussion of the headline plot point: this is the story of a mother who becomes a dog. I, probably like many others, was very curious how the author would let this whole narrative play out across a whole book and how this would be portrayed. I would almost go as far to say the whole 'turning into a dog' aspect of Nightbitch was probably the least interesting part of the book to me - it actually reminded me of The Pisces in this respect. Where the book instead excelled for this reader was in its scathingly accurate, way too close for comfort portrayal of motherhood. The early sections of the book were particularly strong, and we see 'the mother' (as she is referred to, until she is only referred to as 'nightbitch') processing the fact that her child and motherhood is now her life - having left her job some three years ago before having her son. She feels like her personality has been eroded, and that whilst her child is her life - her husband is nice enough but largely absent due to his job - she isn't even doing a particularly good job of raising him. That's until she starts to notice that her canines have got sharper, she has a growth at the base of her spine which looks like a tail, downy hair at the base of her neck... you can picture the rest. The later sections where the protagonist has fully embraced the dog lifestyle (not a sentence I ever thought I'd write...) were where my interest began to wane somewhat, but this is definitely worth a read for the first half where the scathing sections on the impact of motherhood on the protagonist were particularly well rendered. Thank you Netgalley and Vintage for the advance copy, which was provided in exchange for an honest review.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Anna Avian

    One of the most boring books I’ve read this year. Pointless plot, repetitive and oh, so annoying to hear “the mother”, “the son”, “the husband” over and over again like they’re all some soulless mantle figurines. The idea was good but in my opinion it was completely ruined by the writing.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

    Dearest Mems, You always humored me. Actually “humored me” is the wrong phrase; you never made me feel bad when I didn’t understand something. Is there a phrase for that? Does it matter? I suppose that’s beside the point. This is supposed to be a heartfelt message and here I am already venturing off-course. I was only gonna write “thought you might like this” or “thought of you” or “this made me think of you” but quickly recognized the err of my ways. I know you’ve opened up considerably when sp Dearest Mems, You always humored me. Actually “humored me” is the wrong phrase; you never made me feel bad when I didn’t understand something. Is there a phrase for that? Does it matter? I suppose that’s beside the point. This is supposed to be a heartfelt message and here I am already venturing off-course. I was only gonna write “thought you might like this” or “thought of you” or “this made me think of you” but quickly recognized the err of my ways. I know you’ve opened up considerably when speaking about that time in your life – our lives – yet I’m fairly certain you needn’t any reminders of what you overcame. Like you, I never knew what to expect. We read all of the books and listened to all of the podcasts and absorbed the countless pieces of advice bestowed upon us by people just as, if not more clueless than we were. And where did that leave us? At the curbside of Prentice wondering what the fuck just happened. “Enjoy every moment” every asshole and their brother told us. So we did. Or at least we tried. But man oh man was it tough; never had we felt so vulnerable, so ill at ease. We’re supposed to do WHAT with this thing? Feed it? Bathe it? Change it? Raise it? Keep it alive? All the while enjoying every moment of it? It’s no wonder new parents seemed perpetually exhausted. It was exhausting just to think about. And then, of course, it became exhausting to execute. Yet at the same time there was this feeling of, I dunno, accomplishment? Nah, that’s the wrong word. Fulfillment, yeah that’s it. Whatever voids we’d harbored throughout the years became instantly filled. Soon, it was difficult to recall what Life Before Kid (LBK) was like. Not long after that, we hardly even considered LBK at all. It was damn near impossible to think of such a time for we were so very much in the present moment. Parenthood requires that of you; but then, it requires so much. It requires you to be at your level best at any given moment, to think quickly and rationally, to instill trust and love and loyalty. To be honest, it requires more than we can give. But why am I telling you this? You, who carried our child long past its due date. You, who while doubled over in pain stubbornly asserted “I’m fine” as I prepared an overnight bag. You, who braved the heartburn and backaches and uncertainty and fear. You, who “did all of the heavy lifting.” And that’s all before we even left the hospital. We knew this would be a significant change, the biggest in our lives. But never did we ever consider the sheer immensity these changes would impact. How frustrated and helpless we’d feel after what in retrospect were the most innocuous of instances. How parenthood would render us shells of our former selves, selves we hardly much consider anymore anyway. It started simply; you got your haircut rather dramatically, a symbol of this newfound you. We took the obligatory million pictures, posted them here and there to be commented upon and liked and shared with others. In each you wore this new haircut with confidence, yet the smile that accompanied it appeared tired. Forced. Insincere. Entirely not you. It got worse before it got better, despite everyone – and I mean every single fucking person we interacted with – telling us, no assuring us, that things would get easier. Problem is, they were speaking to the parenting portion of parenthood, the part where you devote all of your time and energy and love to this tiny human you had just created. That part we had down pat. It was the other part which threw us – more specifically, you – for a loop. We were so busy caring for our child we hardly thought to care for ourselves. Time didn’t exist, nor did the structure that came with it. Given both were integral to each of us attaining our respective levels of sanity, having such simplicities ripped from our clutches was jarring to say the least. I was fortunate to have work to go back to. It was hard leaving you home with Cecilia – and thankfully your mother – but I knew it was the first step towards establishing our own “new normal” (ugh, that phrase!). Along with my return would come structure, regularity, rejuvenation. Control, control, control. We both know what happened from there. How my return then sparked a transformation. How lonely you claimed to feel. How tired you always were. How overwhelmed you became by the simplest of actions or gestures. Did I tell you how amazing you were the entire time? I did. But sometimes I wonder if I didn’t tell you enough. Maybe it wouldn’t have even mattered. I’ve come to grips with the fact that what happened next wasn’t anyone’s fault – not mine, certainly not yours, and certainly not our child’s. Today, you’re not only so much stronger because of it, but an advocate for those who have experienced and are currently experiencing it, those who also felt alone and tired and overwhelmed. But it took a lot of growing and healing and acceptance to get there. Patience, too. With me, with our daughter, with yourself. And you know what? You crushed it. Yeah yeah, I know you think you could improve on this or that, but I see it all differently. I see strength. I see courage. I see a woman who fought through adversity. All in the name of love. Because that’s what it’s all about, right? Love? That many splendored thing we hold so near and dear? If you do choose to read this book, I think you’ll recognize that in all of its absurdity comes love in heaping doses, imagined through unimaginable acts and thoughts and provocations. It might frighten you a bit; it’ll surely make you laugh. Cry, cringe and curse. Most of all, I think it will make you feel. It certainly made me feel. And I am but merely your wingman, your sidekick in life, your parenting partner-in-crime. I can only imagine what a supermom such as yourself will think. So yeah, anyway, thought you might like this. And even if you don’t, I am guessing you will at the very least be happy you read it, just as all moms such as yourself should. xoxo, -M

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sunny

    Unexpectedly delightful in a grotesque way. Feminism and motherhood and feral being and visceral violence and exhaustion and wonder and fun! I want to give a copy of this book to Kayla of booksandlala and my women in the Bible professor and my English teachers

  17. 4 out of 5

    Justin Chen

    4.5 stars Surreal yet sincere, Nightbitch dives deep into the societal under-appreciation of motherhood and womanhood, through a complex blend of punchy character study and shapeshifting folklore. Rachel Yoder articulates her narrative with an intelligent balance of genre absurdism and honest commentary, without ever letting it be bogged down by needless gore or overt camp. While some of its plot threads were a little too easily explained away towards the end, Nightbitch remains an emotionally fe 4.5 stars Surreal yet sincere, Nightbitch dives deep into the societal under-appreciation of motherhood and womanhood, through a complex blend of punchy character study and shapeshifting folklore. Rachel Yoder articulates her narrative with an intelligent balance of genre absurdism and honest commentary, without ever letting it be bogged down by needless gore or overt camp. While some of its plot threads were a little too easily explained away towards the end, Nightbitch remains an emotionally ferocious, fever dream-like reading journey that is completely worth experiencing. **This ARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Much appreciated!**

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lou

    Nightbitch is a bizarre yet compelling Kafkaesque fable rich in allegory; in this blazingly smart and voracious debut, an artist turned stay-at-home mom becomes convinced she's turning into a dog. An ambitious mother puts her art career on hold to stay at home with her newborn son, but the experience does not match her imagination. Two years later, she steps into the bathroom for a break from her toddler's demands, only to discover a dense patch of hair on the back of her neck. In the mirror, he Nightbitch is a bizarre yet compelling Kafkaesque fable rich in allegory; in this blazingly smart and voracious debut, an artist turned stay-at-home mom becomes convinced she's turning into a dog. An ambitious mother puts her art career on hold to stay at home with her newborn son, but the experience does not match her imagination. Two years later, she steps into the bathroom for a break from her toddler's demands, only to discover a dense patch of hair on the back of her neck. In the mirror, her canines suddenly look sharper than she remembers. Her husband, who travels for work five days a week, casually dismisses her fears from faraway hotel rooms. As the mother's symptoms intensify, and her temptation to give in to her new dog impulses peak, she struggles to keep her alter-canine-identity secret. Seeking a cure at the library, she discovers the mysterious academic tome which becomes her bible, A Field Guide to Magical Women: A Mythical Ethnography, and meets a group of mothers involved in a multilevel-marketing scheme who may also be more than what they seem. This is a unique and unnerving novel balancing the striking and quotidian moments of young motherhood and revolves around the intersectionality of art and our innate instinct to mother. An outrageously original novel of ideas about art, power, and womanhood wrapped in a satirical fairy tale, Nightbitch will make you want to howl in laughter and recognition. And you should. You should howl as much as you want. Highly recommended.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Annie

    The rave reviews, intriguing title, and even the bizarre subject matter caught my eye and I was sure that I would love Nightbitch. Since I thought that it would check a lot of boxes for me, I was really disappointed overall -- I started reading it with a completely open mind and yet it fell entirely flat. The protagonist's husband accuses her of acting like a bitch so she literally adopts this moniker and becomes one. It toes the line of magical realism more than I thought, sprinkled with some t The rave reviews, intriguing title, and even the bizarre subject matter caught my eye and I was sure that I would love Nightbitch. Since I thought that it would check a lot of boxes for me, I was really disappointed overall -- I started reading it with a completely open mind and yet it fell entirely flat. The protagonist's husband accuses her of acting like a bitch so she literally adopts this moniker and becomes one. It toes the line of magical realism more than I thought, sprinkled with some tongue-in-cheek moments about girl boss and mommy culture. These tropes are so familiar (mothers live in sweatpants, are duped into joining pyramid schemes, become "mombies," have names like "Jen") that they ought only to be invoked with purpose, yet that doesn't happen here -- it's a lampoon without deeper meaning. Although most of the book was heavy-handed (perhaps it is my fault for assuming there might be some subtlety in a book titled Nightbitch), I also felt that I didn't quite understand what was real and what wasn't. I do think this was the author's intention, but in my opinion, it wasn't well-executed and only amounted to an array of flat characters (or rather, caricatures) and very little substance. We are in a golden age of writing about motherhood and I am immediately drawn to all thoughtful narratives about it, but for me, this is not one of them.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Mel

    Feral, unhinged, magical realism is my new favourite sub-genre. This was every bit as demented as the publisher blurb promised— and I mean that as the highest form of compliment. Nightbitch is a savage and unapologetic fable about womanhood and mothering, with a dash of cautionary tale about the perils of pyramid schemes. This was a perfect heatwave read that I devoured (pun intended) and immediately reread. Yoder’s writing style grabbed me (by the scruff) with its skillful blend of fantastical Feral, unhinged, magical realism is my new favourite sub-genre. This was every bit as demented as the publisher blurb promised— and I mean that as the highest form of compliment. Nightbitch is a savage and unapologetic fable about womanhood and mothering, with a dash of cautionary tale about the perils of pyramid schemes. This was a perfect heatwave read that I devoured (pun intended) and immediately reread. Yoder’s writing style grabbed me (by the scruff) with its skillful blend of fantastical lyricism and simmering animalistic urgency that maps the mother’s journey. Nightbitch is a stunning, cerebral debut destined to be debated about. Naturally I adored this insane book. Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing an eARC in exchange for my honest review.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jolanta

    What the actual heck?! I should stop falling for new books with loud titles and cool cover designs, and go back to real literature that doesn’t need marketing to be sold. More than a half of modern so called writers that I get to read are pure disappointment. This was one of the biggest ones so far. Seriously, though… what the…. ?

  22. 5 out of 5

    ✰Marissa✰

    Wow. This book made me so angry. Nightbitch is, on its surface, about a woman who turns into a dog to escape the crushing confines of motherhood. It’s not a condemnation of mothers but a celebration of the “brutality and power and darkness of motherhood.” Yoder is so skilled at telling the story of a mother who loves her son and husband, who willingly gave up a promising career as an artist to stay at home while her husband works. But this mother is exhausted, ya’ll. Her son is demanding, her hu Wow. This book made me so angry. Nightbitch is, on its surface, about a woman who turns into a dog to escape the crushing confines of motherhood. It’s not a condemnation of mothers but a celebration of the “brutality and power and darkness of motherhood.” Yoder is so skilled at telling the story of a mother who loves her son and husband, who willingly gave up a promising career as an artist to stay at home while her husband works. But this mother is exhausted, ya’ll. Her son is demanding, her husband is loving but useless and unappreciative, and her working mom friends seem to have the best of both worlds. Her stay-at-home mom anxiety leaves her creatively unfulfilled and perpetually tired. She sees her time and potential slipping away. The mundanity of her routine and the demands of motherhood create a pressure cooker environment. I had to cheer when she just fucking unleashed and like, ate a rabbit and pissed on the lawn. Her transformation into Nightbitch is whimsical and hilarious and upsetting. The husband made me want to SCREAM. He is the pinnacle of fathers who feel like kings for doing the bare minimum as a parent. At the end of the book his big moment of growth is agreeing to put the kid to bed on weekends. Bar on the fucking ground! “He worked all week, and she felt it was too much to ask him to lift a finger on the weekend, because she had automatically devalued her work from the start. She had been, she saw now, inculcated by a culture that told her, Look, it’s cute that you’re a mom, and go do your thing, but, honestly, it’s not that hard; you’re probably not all that smart or interesting, but good for your for feeling fulfilled by mothering.” The pressures and expectations of motherhood, the disappointment and loss of self, the buried dreams of mothers, female rage — all of it is in here and it’s both infuriating and cathartic. “How may generations of women had delayed their greatness only to have time extinguish it completely? How many women had run out of time while the men didn’t know what to do with theirs? And what a mean trick to call such things holy or selfless. How evil to praise women for giving up each and every dream.” I feel like both mothers and women who don’t want to become mothers (or have yet to become mothers) will feel seen and validated by this book. Nightbitch is feral, bloody and bloody good. (Review based on ARC).

  23. 4 out of 5

    Janelle Janson

    Review to come

  24. 5 out of 5

    che

    started off really strong, and i thoroughly enjoyed the detached writing, especially the religious undertones. the "feminism" was not at all subtle with nightbitch's internal monologue always mentioning modern feminist beliefs, but it had a sense of self-awareness that made me take it as an almost satirical take on middle-class white suburban feminism and how, while the struggles are mostly valid, it lacks too much societal awareness which makes it appear ridiculous, especially to the outside pe started off really strong, and i thoroughly enjoyed the detached writing, especially the religious undertones. the "feminism" was not at all subtle with nightbitch's internal monologue always mentioning modern feminist beliefs, but it had a sense of self-awareness that made me take it as an almost satirical take on middle-class white suburban feminism and how, while the struggles are mostly valid, it lacks too much societal awareness which makes it appear ridiculous, especially to the outside perspective. though i'm not exactly sure if it is satire, so don't quote me on that. i really liked this book's raw animosity and would've liked it even more if i didn't find the second half too convoluted for my tastes and had i liked the final direction it took. (3.5)

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)

    A searing and outrageous satire of the complexities of motherhood and the yearning for more, Nightbitch is a jaw dropping debut by Rachel Yoder! A nameless mother has put her creative career on hold to stay at home and raise her son. Her husband travels for work five days a week, leaving the mother to navigate the loneliness and isolation of raising a demanding toddler while constantly grappling with the loss of her former self. “It’s almost as if having a child does not sate a deep yearning but i A searing and outrageous satire of the complexities of motherhood and the yearning for more, Nightbitch is a jaw dropping debut by Rachel Yoder! A nameless mother has put her creative career on hold to stay at home and raise her son. Her husband travels for work five days a week, leaving the mother to navigate the loneliness and isolation of raising a demanding toddler while constantly grappling with the loss of her former self. “It’s almost as if having a child does not sate a deep yearning but instead compounds it.” * One morning the mother notices a patch of hair has suddenly grown on the back of her neck. Soon her canines are razor sharp. Her symptoms are intensifying, her husband is dismissive, and eventually she succumbs to the temptation of canine impulses to let out all her worries and insecurities. Hoping to find happiness and keep her alter-canine secret, the mother now known as Nightbitch embraces a group of mothers from the Babies and Books library program and rescues them from a marketing scheme involving herbs while also rediscovering her creativity through performance art. I love every over-the-top honest minute with Nightbitch! As someone who was a stay at home mom for the first few years of my child’s life, I found myself commiserating with Nightbitch and understanding the brutal divide between loving your child more than yourself and grieving the loss of self. Tack sharp and clever, I cackled loud and often while reading this novel though I should’ve howled instead! Huge thanks to Doubleday and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review. Nightbitch is scheduled for release on July 20, 2021. *Quote included is from a digital advanced reader's copy and is subject to change upon final publication. For more reviews, visit www.rootsandreads.wordpress.com

  26. 5 out of 5

    Yahaira

    This is the Kafka-esque nightmare I've been looking for. Nightbitch leaves her dream job in the arts, to take care of her son full time. At the beginning of the story, the boy is two and she's turning into a dog. Her husband dismisses her concerns and thinks she has it easy because she gets to be home all day while he travels every week for work. Things go to 100 from there. We're inside Nightbitch's head through the whole story and we feel every damn thing. It was almost claustrophobic. Even th This is the Kafka-esque nightmare I've been looking for. Nightbitch leaves her dream job in the arts, to take care of her son full time. At the beginning of the story, the boy is two and she's turning into a dog. Her husband dismisses her concerns and thinks she has it easy because she gets to be home all day while he travels every week for work. Things go to 100 from there. We're inside Nightbitch's head through the whole story and we feel every damn thing. It was almost claustrophobic. Even thinking about it now is making my heart rate go up. Yes, it's about motherhood but it's also about all female stress, suffering and rage. The boredom and fatigue of staying home. Being undervalued and overlooked even after giving yourself, your ambitions, up. I'm not a mother, but I've had so many of these same thoughts run through me. I've been in conversations where I'm not included or ignored, not considered worthy. Do all women have these thoughts, but we just don't tell each other (we're told to instead lean in)? Have we created some competition to grin and bear it and she who breaks first loses? But here Nightbitch wins. She realizes that "the work is the life. There isn't a distinction," This book is both fantastical and truthful; hilarious and devastating. **I received an ARC through Netgalley.**

  27. 4 out of 5

    Monica (crazy_4_books)

    August pick for #buzzwordathon. I wouldn't consider this horror, but more of a cautionary tale on how suburban life for a new mother and housewife, whose husband is at home only on weekends, can turn into a complete nightmare when she realizes she's given up the life she's always wanted in order to please her husband's comfort. The writing style is quite unusual with long paragraphs, the dialogues are inserted into the description paragraphs, and the characters have no first names; they're refer August pick for #buzzwordathon. I wouldn't consider this horror, but more of a cautionary tale on how suburban life for a new mother and housewife, whose husband is at home only on weekends, can turn into a complete nightmare when she realizes she's given up the life she's always wanted in order to please her husband's comfort. The writing style is quite unusual with long paragraphs, the dialogues are inserted into the description paragraphs, and the characters have no first names; they're referred as "the mother", "the husband" and "the boy". The story plays with what's real and what's inside the mother's mind in a nonsensical style reminiscent of Mona Awad's, but without the characteristic comic relief and sarcastic tone of "Bunny". It's clear this woman goes through a life changing internal and external process, whether if she's really transformed into a dog by the end or that's a metaphor it's really up to the reader to decide. This book is short, but since the writing style is very dense, I'd have preferred it to be a short story or novella. Trigger warning for animal cruelty (poor kitty 😭) and gore 🤢 Just found out the rights for the movie adaptation have been bought by a popular independent movie studio and Amy Adams is attached to the role, I just cannot wait to see her eating raw meat or devouring living animals 🤣

  28. 5 out of 5

    Cassie

    What the fuck.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Barry Pierce

    flop! ottessa collect your imitators.

  30. 5 out of 5

    chantel nouseforaname

    You know those standard-issue blankets they place newborns in when you take them home that first night from the hospital… they should tuck this book in right beside the baby. Being a mom, becoming a mom, the sacrifice that it takes to walk that walk, is not for the weak. And even when the outside world doesn’t know how to process what they’re seeing when it comes to moms, mom rage, mom happiness or sadness, mom fear, mom love and protection - all of those things takes a strength you only get whe You know those standard-issue blankets they place newborns in when you take them home that first night from the hospital… they should tuck this book in right beside the baby. Being a mom, becoming a mom, the sacrifice that it takes to walk that walk, is not for the weak. And even when the outside world doesn’t know how to process what they’re seeing when it comes to moms, mom rage, mom happiness or sadness, mom fear, mom love and protection - all of those things takes a strength you only get when you commit yourself entirely to raising, consciously raising, a smaller human into a larger one. I assume, because I don’t have any kids, that raising a child is like watering a sensitive house plant you almost died to obtain. I recall, through the observation of my own raising, that you’re desperately trying to keep your spawn alive and growing... moving it to all the spots in your home that has the most optimal light you can afford, the most optimal air, etc. I kill every plant I’ve ever had... and spending all your time tending to your plants can be draining, especially if there are intersecting variables that alter your experience and environment for growth. The concept of this book is amazing. I felt the Kafka vibes. The excitement of the act of turning, Rachel Yoder's descriptions of becoming the canine. I felt that. It felt like electricity while I was reading it. The ending needed a bit more zip for me. A bit more punch. There’s a little too much white feminist reality in here, but I would never begrudge someone their reality of personal misery in abundance. There’s so much revealed in the book about the importance of acknowledging the power of motherhood. While she did beat the dead rat, rabbit, cat, in the end, no horses were harmed in this novel. Maybe sometimes it could feel like she overstates the motherhood is crazy point, but could anyone ever really overstate such a reality? I don’t think so. 3.5 rounded up.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.