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How to Be Eaten

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*BELLETRIST JUNE BOOK CLUB PICK* Named a Best Book of May by TIME Magazine & Glamour  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 *BELLETRIST JUNE BOOK CLUB PICK* Named a Best Book of May by TIME Magazine & Glamour  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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*BELLETRIST JUNE BOOK CLUB PICK* Named a Best Book of May by TIME Magazine & Glamour  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 *BELLETRIST JUNE BOOK CLUB PICK* Named a Best Book of May by TIME Magazine & Glamour  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.

30 review for How to Be Eaten

  1. 4 out of 5

    karen

    NOW AVAILABLE!!! Maybe everyone has a story, but not everyone was interviewed by Barbara Walters at age twelve, cross-legged on a couch in a red dress and Mary Janes, skin still red from stomach acid, getting chastised for her wantonness. Not everyone was in a Western 45 Gun Company handgun ad just to pay the hospital bills. Not that I was the one who shot him. Not everyone is the fictionalized star of pedo-erotic-true-crime fan fiction and actual porn, posted on the deep corners of the internet, NOW AVAILABLE!!! Maybe everyone has a story, but not everyone was interviewed by Barbara Walters at age twelve, cross-legged on a couch in a red dress and Mary Janes, skin still red from stomach acid, getting chastised for her wantonness. Not everyone was in a Western 45 Gun Company handgun ad just to pay the hospital bills. Not that I was the one who shot him. Not everyone is the fictionalized star of pedo-erotic-true-crime fan fiction and actual porn, posted on the deep corners of the internet, some version of me wandering around a subdivision in pigtails naked, save for a red-hooded cape. this was a three-star-read for me, but it's a high three stars. not to be confused with three high stars: i love fairy tale retellings, especially when familiar stories are transplanted into contemporary times, forcing the modern reader to re-examine the messages we've been passing down unthinkingly through the generations, many of which are, as they say, problematic, even in their softened, disneyfied forms. lots of happy endings for women kissed sans active consent by powerful men whilst deeply comatose, ladies choosing to relinquish their power of speech to be with a man, women punished for their curiosity, for running late, for talking to strangers—fairy tales are not typically great for females. i'm not sure if angela carter was the first, but she was certainly one of the pioneers in the "feminist reclamation of fairy tales" genre, which somehow, despite a finite pool of source material from which to draw, is still thriving as authors find inventive ways to build new stories on the canon's bones. the creative hook to this one is centered around a therapy group for women who had once upon a time lived through a variation of a familiar fairy-tale scenario; girls who grew up to become women deeply scarred by their traumatic experiences, which are reclassed here largely as true crime stories: a woman married to a blue-bearded billionaire serial killer, a girl who saved herself and her brother by murdering the woman who kidnapped them, a girl seduced by a predator on her way to visit her grandmother. because if anyone's gonna need some therapy, it'll be someone who was swallowed up (if only temporarily) by a killer masquerading as a trusted relative. and the formerly little red ruby's...not doing so well. her riding hood(ie) story is reshaped as an encounter with a sexual predator, flattered and manipulated by a wolfish creature in an interaction that reminded me very much of the highly uncomfortable must-read graphic novel Panther. here, we see her grown up to become a wayward substance-abusing cutter; sarcastic, self-destructive and self-effacing—always sweaty, always hungry, wearing a truly grotesque fur coat made of the wolf who consumed her and drawn to debasing casual sex with men drawn to her damage. Emil and I have this on-again, off-again storage-closet romance. "Romance" is a strong word for it. He sometimes nonexclusively jams his junk down my throat over lunch breaks until I can't breathe. Emil has the personality of a drunken pirate trying to clean up his act. For three weeks out of each month, he treats me like a siren trying to shipwreck him. When he's exhausted himself from abstaining, he'll reappear with that hungry, wanting look. Later, he'll pawn it off as a moment of weakness that was my fault, saying things like "Well, when you wear that dress" or "You finally washed your hair." We keep doing it, just like that, in a way that's annoyingly unstoppable, like how you find yourself singing along to a crappy pop song on the radio that you unfortunately know by heart. ruby is just one of the women assembled into this group by the blandly inoffensive will—a therapist with an ulterior motive. well, two ulterior motives, and one icky, sticky secret. his (stated) objective is to provide a safe place for these women to share their experiences with others like them; survivors of unusual and horrific circumstances whose details were salaciously media-twisted, their lives raked over the coals of public opinion and spoiler alert—they are a judgy bunch. "To be honest, I thought Gretel, of all people, would get it," says Ruby. "We both escaped being eaten for lunch, just to have the media eat us for dinner." the women come to the group for their own personal reasons and hounded by their own personal demons, but will's sales-pitch-goal for them is empowerment—taking back their stories from the spotlight of their abusers and the media’s framing of them as complicit in their own victimhood, or presenting reductive versions of themselves defined solely by their trauma, their rescue, their proximity to real-world horror. so, these are revisionist fairytales of women whose experiences were already revised by scandal-hungry media; their lives exploited for the titillation of viewers, news cycles splaying out their worst days before abandoning them, rapidly moving on to the next bleeding story without pausing to consider what happens to these individuals afterwards; the real people behind the true crime stories, the "where are they now?" survivors carrying on living after their experiences have been scrutinized and dissected into unrecognizable form: Sensational or sanitized, there's no middle ground. this book is the middle ground. the best backstories here are ruby's and bernice's, who is surrounded by the chattering voices of her blue-bearded husband's former lovers, now trapped in the objects he made from their bodies, finding herself guilty by association; lumped into the crimes she had no idea he had committed...until she did. In my new neighborhood bodega, the cashier stared, then looked over near the window. I followed his eyes to a display of newspapers and tabloids. I picked up a paper where an op-ed headline read WHEN CURIOSITY KILLS, as if opening the door had been the real deathblow. A tabloid had a photo of me on the cover, on the day of the funeral, wearing a dark navy dress, almost smirking under a rainbow umbrella. TRUE BLUE! The headline shouted in bold lettering. The subheading: BLUEBEARD'S GIRLFRIEND STANDS BY HER MAN. I was always a reference point for someone else. I was born into the last name of a father I hardly knew, in school I was always my sister's little sister, in the mansion Andrea had called me Taylor, and now I was the nameless possessive of some stupidly named serial killer. "Wearing navy to the funeral," said one apparent expert in an unnamed field," suggests that she's still aligning herself with Bluebeard." They write about me as if I'd attended the funeral of a mistress I was complicit in murdering. They compared me to the smiling wives of cheating politicians and the adoring fans of death-row inmates. i also enjoyed ashlee's story, an outlier in that she's not attached to a specific fairytale, but is kind of catch-all for every "happily ever after" princess story—the winner of a Bachelor-style reality dating show called The One, who got her prince but was emphatically not a fan favorite. hers is a wonderfully caustic behind-the-scenes look at reality show production—the manipulation and grooming and sneaky editing. i have never seen The Bachelor because i am a monster who hates love, but the whole grueling process, the women blindfolded, sequestered, transported to undisclosed locations like prisoners of war was fascinating and also horrifying. and that "prince" was certainly no prize. gretel's story was the weakest of the bunch and for whatever reason adelmann decided to be very cagey about disclosing raina's identity until the Big Reveal, so i'll respect that choice, but overall, while i enjoyed the witty observations and commentary, the parts didn't cohere into a satisfying whole. the premise and the individual stories were great, but it needed more connective tissue to make the big-picture story work; to make this operate as a novel instead of a loosely-bound story collection. my issue isn't with the writing, it's with the construction. she's got a strong concept, it's funny and there are some sharp insights, but it mostly just scratches the surface of its themes of gendered power structures, identity, and the squickiness of true crime as entertainment without developing it into anything more than raised questions. YMMV, of course, and my inability to be over-the-moon-wowed by this is probably because i've pretty recently read These Women and Notes on an Execution, where the whole "taking the narrative away from the serial killer to focus on the lives of his victims/survivors/women surrounding his story" offered much more thorough explorations of the theme, and More Than You'll Ever Know did an excellent job examining our obsession with true crime in general. as far as this one goes: great cover, great moments, good book. ********************************** I WON A GOODREADS GIVEAWAY!!! come to my blog!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Maja - BibliophiliaDK ✨

    FASCINATING AND INNOVATIVE LOOK AT THE STORY AFTER THE STORY ENDS Based solely on the blurp, I had high expectations for this book. And I was certainly not let down. This was interesting, innovative, entertaining, spooky, fascinating and mysterious. I was completely sold on the premise right from the start - "fairy tale" heroines going to therapy to deal with the sh*t that happened to them? Genius! It had plot, it had twists, it had intertextuality and it had riveting characters. ❤️ What I Loved ❤ FASCINATING AND INNOVATIVE LOOK AT THE STORY AFTER THE STORY ENDS Based solely on the blurp, I had high expectations for this book. And I was certainly not let down. This was interesting, innovative, entertaining, spooky, fascinating and mysterious. I was completely sold on the premise right from the start - "fairy tale" heroines going to therapy to deal with the sh*t that happened to them? Genius! It had plot, it had twists, it had intertextuality and it had riveting characters. ❤️ What I Loved ❤️ After the HEA: What happens to fairy tale characters after the story ends? Is it just 'happily ever after' as the stories want us to believe? Or are there consequences to deal with after being eaten by a wolf, nearly eaten by a witch or almost killed by a serial killer? That is the theme of this book. And it was brilliant! I was invested right from the beginning. Retelling: I always love a good retelling. And this was definitely good. It takes place in modern times and manages to retain the magic even with a modern setting. Each story was recognisable and yet new in the very best way. It gave me a sense of mystery the whole way through, because even though I thought I knew what was going to happen, I never really knew. Plot: While each of the five women recounts the story that made her famous, there is also another plot unfolding behind the scenes. It's filled with mystery and intrigue and while I was quick to guess the twist at the end, it still held me captive up until the great reveal. Characters: The five women were each brilliant in their own way. I loved how they each had a distinct voice, that came through loud and clear. I really liked seeing them interacting with one another and slowly opening up about their traumas. Follow me for more book loving content! Blog ✨ Facebook ✨ Instagram ✨ Twitter Blog Post: 10 Criminally Underrated YA Books with an LGBTQ Twist

  3. 4 out of 5

    Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

    This sounds AMAZING

  4. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Greendale

    "A darkly funny and provocative debut novel that reimagines classic fairy tale characters as modern women in a support group for trauma." Yes please! Sign me up for this, stat! "A darkly funny and provocative debut novel that reimagines classic fairy tale characters as modern women in a support group for trauma." Yes please! Sign me up for this, stat!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Woodbury

    There are a lot of fairy tale retellings/re-examinings these days, which makes this book both well- and ill-timed. It has some interesting ideas to play with but ultimately I'm not sure what it wants to say. Some of what we're doing here is similar to any other retelling, placing fairy tale stories in a modern context. In this case, examining in particular media coverage of sensational stories, social media, tabloids, the way we judge women in the spotlight, etc. That sounds like it could lead us There are a lot of fairy tale retellings/re-examinings these days, which makes this book both well- and ill-timed. It has some interesting ideas to play with but ultimately I'm not sure what it wants to say. Some of what we're doing here is similar to any other retelling, placing fairy tale stories in a modern context. In this case, examining in particular media coverage of sensational stories, social media, tabloids, the way we judge women in the spotlight, etc. That sounds like it could lead us to an interesting place but we never really spend time diving into it, we keep hopping past it. The new piece here is adding reality tv (one of our protagonists isn't from any particular fairy tale, although she could also be from any of them, as a regular girl swept up in a fairy tale story of a reality dating show) but I couldn't quite tell what to make of this, either. We're 20 years into reality television, so that now everyone knows it's manufactured and the storylines are created by editing, and it is a bit muddled to combine this story with the story of the others. The conversations between the protagonists in this "group therapy" style setting often don't actually lead anywhere, and I was usually impatient with them, preferring to get back to the stories the characters were telling about themselves. I can see how the pieces are all there, but the whole somehow is less than the sum of the parts. With so much of these types of stories happening now, I want it to go a step further and show me something new.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    Even better than it sounds, HOW TO BE EATEN presents vividly real women haunted by their fairy tale pasts in a deliciously angsty debut. Pure fun pulsing with a dark heart.

  7. 4 out of 5

    AndiReads

    This darkly funny and provocative novel reimagines classic fairy tale characters as modern women in a support group for trauma. Super fun and creative book depicting women suffering from PTSD following their experiences in fairy tales (such as Hansel and Gretel) and reality shows (like the Bachelor. The women come together by choice for group therapy session. Some of the back and forth between the personalities confused me, but I really enjoyed the personal stories of each of the women. The cover This darkly funny and provocative novel reimagines classic fairy tale characters as modern women in a support group for trauma. Super fun and creative book depicting women suffering from PTSD following their experiences in fairy tales (such as Hansel and Gretel) and reality shows (like the Bachelor. The women come together by choice for group therapy session. Some of the back and forth between the personalities confused me, but I really enjoyed the personal stories of each of the women. The cover does not do this book justice! This book is colorful and wacky and dark and sardonic. As the pub quote states - this book puts fairy tales on their heads to reveal them as " anti-feminist nightmares, and transforms them into a new kind of myth for grown-up women." If you were always annoyed by fairy tales, or the dating reality shows or are just in the mood for a little book therapy, #HowToBeEaten is for you! #littlebrown #netgalley #netgalleyreads

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sami Rose

    This is a really incredible and imaginative book transporting the horrific fairytales we grew up with into 5 haunting and darkly comedic stories about the very real ways men harm women. If you like Her Body and Other Stories this is definitely for you.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Marsha

    How to Be Eaten is a cleverly subversive reimagining of five iconic fairytale heroines. The characters meet at a support group to speak about their traumas, but the reason they were brought there is a story in itself. I loved how the narrative separated and coalesced in waves, and while wickedly dark, there are laugh-out-loud moments. Maria Adelmann nailed her characters, down to each flick of hair and droplet of watery blood. Compulsively readable.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Caity Haugen

    Thank you to NetGalley, Little Brown and Company, and Maria Adelmann for providing me with the opportunity to read How to be Eaten before publication. This creative reimagination of some of our favourite well-known characters goes far beyond the premise of “fractured fairytale.” It is gruesomely dark and frighteningly gritty (and, at times, laugh-out-loud funny). While I enjoyed attempting to map Adelmann’s characters onto the traditional source material by looking for clues and embedded referenc Thank you to NetGalley, Little Brown and Company, and Maria Adelmann for providing me with the opportunity to read How to be Eaten before publication. This creative reimagination of some of our favourite well-known characters goes far beyond the premise of “fractured fairytale.” It is gruesomely dark and frighteningly gritty (and, at times, laugh-out-loud funny). While I enjoyed attempting to map Adelmann’s characters onto the traditional source material by looking for clues and embedded references throughout the book, I would encourage readers to come with an open mind. Embrace Adelmann’s characters as fully formed individuals rooted in reality. The clever nods to each woman’s fairytale origins is a compelling point of entry but their trauma and stories are weighty enough to stand alone. Thoroughly readable. 3.5 Stars.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea

    The characters were a little annoying in the beginning, but they got better and I liked the writing. I have mixed feelings about Raina's story and I predicted the "plot twist" at the end pretty early on. Overall, I liked it, but I'm not sure I'd recommend it. The characters were a little annoying in the beginning, but they got better and I liked the writing. I have mixed feelings about Raina's story and I predicted the "plot twist" at the end pretty early on. Overall, I liked it, but I'm not sure I'd recommend it.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Andy Pronti

    I’m not entirely sure what to say about this novel. I really wanted to like it more than I did. It was an interesting premise that didn’t really play out very well. I don’t want to say that it was a complete waste of time. It was just really strange, which for me to say is really something because I love strange. It just didn’t work for me. Skip this one.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Christina

    "Dark, edgy, and wickedly funny" - yes, yes, and yes. How to Be Eaten is a gorgeously written story about a modern-day support group comprised of five women who've survived so-called fairy tales, from the traditional (like Gretel, who - unsurprisingly - struggles with a deep mistrust of food and those who try to feed her) to the contemporary (like Ashlee, the 21-year-old 'winner' of the most recent Bachelor). It is TWISTED, and it is excellent. In terms of plot, it of course reminded me of The Fi "Dark, edgy, and wickedly funny" - yes, yes, and yes. How to Be Eaten is a gorgeously written story about a modern-day support group comprised of five women who've survived so-called fairy tales, from the traditional (like Gretel, who - unsurprisingly - struggles with a deep mistrust of food and those who try to feed her) to the contemporary (like Ashlee, the 21-year-old 'winner' of the most recent Bachelor). It is TWISTED, and it is excellent. In terms of plot, it of course reminded me of The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix, which I enjoyed - but I'd put TFGSG squarely in the thriller category, whereas I think How To Be Eaten is more ambiguous. It has thriller-esque elements, particularly around the therapist and his motivations, but it's much more character-driven than your typical mystery, and there's magical realism too. I'd actually compare it most closely to Silvia Moreno-Garcia's Mexican Gothic - both books expertly create a sense of creeping unease (and visceral shock!) as you move through them. The one thing I didn't like about this book was the cover - I think it's misleading. It suggests that Ruby's (Little Red Riding Hood's) story will be the central one, but that's not the case. (The women get roughly equal 'page time', but if there's an argument to be made for one central character, I'd go with Bernice or maybe Raina.) I would have preferred a more abstract design, or one that managed to integrate elements of all five women's stories - I think that would have set a much stronger orientation. That said, I loved this book. I loved it so much I had to force myself to stop reading when I was 70% of the way through so that I could savor it through more than one sitting. To put it in context, I read an absurd amount - I'm at 80+ books in 2022 so far - and I can already tell this will be a contender for one of my favorites. Thanks to NetGalley and Little, Brown and Company for my ARC.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Geonn Cannon

    Bleak, graphic, difficult to read in more than a few places, but still very good. The worst part was the Ashlee segment which, due to being her pov, is littered with "he was like, she was like, and then he was like, and she was like" dialogue exchanges. It was almost unbearable to the point where I could barely pay attention to the actual story. Bleak, graphic, difficult to read in more than a few places, but still very good. The worst part was the Ashlee segment which, due to being her pov, is littered with "he was like, she was like, and then he was like, and she was like" dialogue exchanges. It was almost unbearable to the point where I could barely pay attention to the actual story.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    I loved this book. It was such a unique premise and funny in a very dark way. I actually had to look up Bluebeard - I had never heard that fairy tale. Thank you to the Belletrist book club - I would never have heard about this book or picked it up if it hadn't been the June selection. I loved this book. It was such a unique premise and funny in a very dark way. I actually had to look up Bluebeard - I had never heard that fairy tale. Thank you to the Belletrist book club - I would never have heard about this book or picked it up if it hadn't been the June selection.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Dilliemillie

    What a great story! Familiar fairy tales intertwine with real life to explore the aftermath for those who survive. The women of this book begrudgingly open up to one another in a group meeting, telling the stories that changed their lives. They explore the truths that are easier to see in one another than in themselves and face the overwhelming criticism and censure they experience from the world. Fantastical elements mix seamlessly with a realistic depiction of our modern patriarchal world, lea What a great story! Familiar fairy tales intertwine with real life to explore the aftermath for those who survive. The women of this book begrudgingly open up to one another in a group meeting, telling the stories that changed their lives. They explore the truths that are easier to see in one another than in themselves and face the overwhelming criticism and censure they experience from the world. Fantastical elements mix seamlessly with a realistic depiction of our modern patriarchal world, leaving the reader with an honest but hopeful impression for our future. Thank you to NetGalley and Little, Brown and Company for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Katie | niftyreads

    I texted my best booksta friend a screenshot of HOW TO BE TO EATEN by Maria Adelmann, saying, “this book is fucked up lol. But I like it.” I feel that statement accurately reflects my feelings the entire time I listened to it. If you are a fan of fairytale retellings of modern women with interesting twists, this book is for you. I clung to this book like I was watching a reality tv show - laughing and cringing - because it has so much to it. It’s the dark comedy you don’t see coming. In present- I texted my best booksta friend a screenshot of HOW TO BE TO EATEN by Maria Adelmann, saying, “this book is fucked up lol. But I like it.” I feel that statement accurately reflects my feelings the entire time I listened to it. If you are a fan of fairytale retellings of modern women with interesting twists, this book is for you. I clung to this book like I was watching a reality tv show - laughing and cringing - because it has so much to it. It’s the dark comedy you don’t see coming. In present-day NYC, five women meet in a basement support group. It turns out that each woman is given a week to speak, but the others enhance their tale and pop in with remarks and questions. The audiobook narration by Lauren Ezzo was so entertaining, bringing to life Bernice, Ruby, Gretel, Ashlee, and Raina. I literally saw their stories unfold in front of me. My two favorites were Bernice and Ashlee. Bernice, because her story was so ordinary, then became so strange. And Ashlee because it was how I imagine what every contestant on Bachelor Nation goes through 😂 I’m always a fan of fairytale retellings, but this was by far the strangest one I’ve ever read - in an excellent way! I went in with no expectations, and I loved it. But I have a dark sense of humor, and I like the macabre. It’s a dark comedy, and it does make you think about what is acceptable in society. There are many triggers, so make sure this book is okay for you! Read this book if you like fairytale retellings and want to try something new, especially if you are a Bachelor Nation fan! It reimagines our classic tales and makes them absurdly strange, yet you can’t help but want more. Thanks Hachette Audio for the gifted audiobook! • Content Warnings: trauma, sexual assault, toxic relationship, mental illness, PTSD, torture, infidelity, talk of people being skinned, murder with graphic description of human body, very graphic description of Little Red Riding Hood story.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Krista

    This enthralling novel is a feminist manifesto wrapped in a series of fractures fairytales. The expertly deployed magical realism shines a spotlight on the messy after effects of trauma and the nonlinear path to healing. My one quibble is Gretel’s story feels slightly underdeveloped compared to the other four, but wanting more about a specific character is not necessarily a bad thing. Recommended for anyone feeling rage at a society designed to be impossible to live in. NetGalley provided me with This enthralling novel is a feminist manifesto wrapped in a series of fractures fairytales. The expertly deployed magical realism shines a spotlight on the messy after effects of trauma and the nonlinear path to healing. My one quibble is Gretel’s story feels slightly underdeveloped compared to the other four, but wanting more about a specific character is not necessarily a bad thing. Recommended for anyone feeling rage at a society designed to be impossible to live in. NetGalley provided me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Hillary Copsey

    2.5 stars rounded up Fairytale retellings aren't rare, and this, which smashes together a bunch of stories by imagining their traumatized heroines in a support group, doesn't feel fresh. It reminded me of a collection of Politically Correct Fairytales that made a splash 30 years ago, honestly. Any lessons learned or points being made here are hammers hitting the reader squarely in the eyes. It didn't surprise me to learn that Adelmann has written for McSweeney's. All that being said, How to Be Ea 2.5 stars rounded up Fairytale retellings aren't rare, and this, which smashes together a bunch of stories by imagining their traumatized heroines in a support group, doesn't feel fresh. It reminded me of a collection of Politically Correct Fairytales that made a splash 30 years ago, honestly. Any lessons learned or points being made here are hammers hitting the reader squarely in the eyes. It didn't surprise me to learn that Adelmann has written for McSweeney's. All that being said, How to Be Eaten is compelling reading. On cue, I was horrified or grossed out by Adelmann's descriptions. Dark humor sometimes made me laugh. I wanted to know how each woman's story would spin out. Unfortunately, the results didn't always satisfy. And that's really why I landed on this being just OK -- it felt like it had the potential to be better. Thanks to NetGalley for the advance copy.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    Thanks to NetGallery for the ARC! Loved this book. It was a modern twist on known fairytales. The ending was almost as twisted as you could expect from a fairytale. I loved the idea of telling these as “survivor stories” to fairytale trauma. I don’t think there’s any room for sequel here but I look forward to her next book!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Annie

    I have a fascination with books that look at what happens after—after the Big Bad has been taken down and the lovers have gotten together and all that. I especially love it when authors take the metafictional route and put characters into group therapy to talk through their issues (as in The Final Girls Support Group and Lost in a Good Book). When I saw reviews for Maria Adelmann’s How to Be Eaten I jumped at the chance to read it. I just couldn’t resist a book in which five women who lived thro I have a fascination with books that look at what happens after—after the Big Bad has been taken down and the lovers have gotten together and all that. I especially love it when authors take the metafictional route and put characters into group therapy to talk through their issues (as in The Final Girls Support Group and Lost in a Good Book). When I saw reviews for Maria Adelmann’s How to Be Eaten I jumped at the chance to read it. I just couldn’t resist a book in which five women who lived through traumatic events that strangely resemble fairy tales are invited to participate in group therapy. Readers, I inhaled this book... Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, for review consideration.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Crystal Palmisano-dillard

    Whew! Well known fairy tales get a twist. In these modern version they’re gritty and dark and the heroines are left to struggle through the lingering trauma. Five women are contacted to join a group therapy to help them process their experiences, but the therapist Will is not who he seems. An interesting take on how the stories of victims are exploited for views, clicks and ultimately money Thanks to NetGalley for the advance copy.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jenna D

    This is EXACTLY what I want a fairytale retelling to be. The characters on the page were so deeply dynamic and well-explored that their folktale origins became a backdrop of intrigue rather than a crutch which we see too often in this genre. I tore through this book desperate to see what came next and was wholly and fully satisfied with each page. Gritty, fresh, and an absolute success.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Gabrielle Gochenaur

    I have to say this is probably one of the most unique books I’ve read in awhile (In a very good way!) I loved all of the characters and overall premise. The author showed the dark side of many beloved fairytales and the dangers women face in this modern world. This book honestly was a masterpiece in my eyes. It was addictive and kept me thoroughly entertained!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Breanna Stanton

    Thanks to Goodreads for my ARC! Loved this one, snarky, dark, funny, full of chick power. Such a fun read!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Nicole Wilkerson

    Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for granting me an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review! All opinions are my own. Where to even start with this gem of a book.... I thoroughly enjoyed this book, even though I didn't initially think I would. The premise is basically that all these well-known fairy tale figures are in a talk therapy session to work through the trauma and process their situations. Each woman tells the story in her own words, and the narrative focuses on each of Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for granting me an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review! All opinions are my own. Where to even start with this gem of a book.... I thoroughly enjoyed this book, even though I didn't initially think I would. The premise is basically that all these well-known fairy tale figures are in a talk therapy session to work through the trauma and process their situations. Each woman tells the story in her own words, and the narrative focuses on each of the 5 weeks of the experimental therapy sessions. The women telling their stories (which were, again, all a retelling of fairy tales we've all come to know and love) was superbly well written. I really enjoyed it! It is hard to have five unique narrative voices from the same author, but Adelmann does this masterfully. Each character had a very interesting and unique perspective on things, a concrete storytelling style, and an overall beautiful arc of development. This was far and away the highlight of the entire story. There was a bit of a twist in the story that I was really intrigued by, and while the story doesn't really have a 'plot', per say, it was still a really great dive into character, perceptions, and fairy tales. I will warn readers that this story, while funny, is VERY dark. There were times that I, an avid horror movie viewer and thriller reader, was a bit uncomfortable with the descriptions. I still really enjoyed the story, it was a bit of a shock to me, so go into it aware. Overall, I really enjoyed this book, and it got me thinking a LOT about our society, women, trauma, and healing, while also being a funny and dark retelling of classic tales we all know. Very enjoyable!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ranjini Shankar

    This was a 3.5 star read for me. It’s creative and puts a new spin on classic fairy tales. The characters are biting and snarky and witty but not all the stories are strong and the ending left me wanting more. We get to hear the stories of five fairy tale characters - Bernice, Bluebeard’s laser girlfriend, Ruby, the killer of the wolf, Gretel, the child captive who escaped, Ashlee, the winner of a Bachelor-esque reality show, and Raina, a mysterious sophisticated lady whose story is unknown. The This was a 3.5 star read for me. It’s creative and puts a new spin on classic fairy tales. The characters are biting and snarky and witty but not all the stories are strong and the ending left me wanting more. We get to hear the stories of five fairy tale characters - Bernice, Bluebeard’s laser girlfriend, Ruby, the killer of the wolf, Gretel, the child captive who escaped, Ashlee, the winner of a Bachelor-esque reality show, and Raina, a mysterious sophisticated lady whose story is unknown. These five women wind up in a therapy group talking to a bland therapist and spilling their real stories to each other and slowly the realize they may have more in common than they expected. Bernice, Ruby and Ashlee’s stories are by far the best. Ashlee is probably the most well developed character and the most enjoyable to read about because her story is just so different than the rest. I feel like Gretel and Raina got the short end of the stick here. There’s no real resolution for Gretel and Raina, after all that buildup in mystery, got a very invalidating story and ending as well. However 3 out of 5 isn’t bad and basically represents the stars I have as well.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Courtney

    "Drawing people into a story is a way of ensuring they'll bear witness," notes Will. "People should listen because they want to understand, says Bernice, "not because they're voyeurs or amateur sleuths." This was an odd one. From the monologue styled writing, to the lotion and (view spoiler)[ meat suit (hide spoiler)] it was all weird. How to Be Eaten tries to modernize old fairytales but loses the magic of them in the process. The overarching plotline was weak. The reasoning for all of them to be "Drawing people into a story is a way of ensuring they'll bear witness," notes Will. "People should listen because they want to understand, says Bernice, "not because they're voyeurs or amateur sleuths." This was an odd one. From the monologue styled writing, to the lotion and (view spoiler)[ meat suit (hide spoiler)] it was all weird. How to Be Eaten tries to modernize old fairytales but loses the magic of them in the process. The overarching plotline was weak. The reasoning for all of them to be in group therapy was unbelievable and the twist was bizarre but not surprising. I know the author had to come up with a way for all of these women to get together but it didn't work for me. While each women's story holds it's own I found the therapy conversations surrounding them to be pointless. I do not care about cookies being eaten and hangnails being bitten at, just continue telling me about your tragedy. There's a million different fairytale retelling's out right now some with points to make and others for pure enjoyment. I didn't feel like How To Be Eaten ever got around to making a point and overall, I can't say I enjoyed it either. I'd recommend finding something else. Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for giving me an advance readers copy in exchange for a honest review. All quotes come from an arc and may change.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Laney Estel

    ✨ 5 fairytale women enter therapy. 💜 The story follows a group of women who have had trauma who join a support group. These are modern day retellings of Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood, a reality dating Cinderella, a girlfriend of Bluebird….and one more I can’t talk about due to major ending spoilers. 💥This is one of those books that stick with you. There is a ton of ambiguousness in this book where you are sometimes not sure if you read it right. Sometimes this is to limit the graphic s ✨ 5 fairytale women enter therapy. 💜 The story follows a group of women who have had trauma who join a support group. These are modern day retellings of Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood, a reality dating Cinderella, a girlfriend of Bluebird….and one more I can’t talk about due to major ending spoilers. 💥This is one of those books that stick with you. There is a ton of ambiguousness in this book where you are sometimes not sure if you read it right. Sometimes this is to limit the graphic scenes and sometimes it’s to provide you with a more enjoyable twist. I semi-guessed the ending. But their stories will compel you to keep reading. My face at the end: 😱 🍪 I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Received from @Netgalley and Little, Brown and Company. 💯 For more details on the books we read, be sure to follow me on TikTok (@zaineylaney). I will give you a list of reasons to read! Or join us on Youtube (@zaineylaney) for our monthly wrapups and snap book decisions.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    I’ve always loved reimagined or “fractured” fairy tales and How to Be Eaten was a super enjoyable and unique spin on that. I had such a fun time reading this book and can’t wait to read more from this author. The book itself almost read like a collection of short stories with each chapter revealing the backstory of our main characters, with small interludes taking place in an unknown office. I loved this set up because it kept me engaged and motivated to reach the end of each (somewhat) long cha I’ve always loved reimagined or “fractured” fairy tales and How to Be Eaten was a super enjoyable and unique spin on that. I had such a fun time reading this book and can’t wait to read more from this author. The book itself almost read like a collection of short stories with each chapter revealing the backstory of our main characters, with small interludes taking place in an unknown office. I loved this set up because it kept me engaged and motivated to reach the end of each (somewhat) long chapter. The characters were interesting and a nice mix of commonly thought of fairy tale stars (Red Riding Hood/Cinderella) and those you may not be as familiar with (Bluebeard). How to Be Eaten also offers a commentary on media and how we consume it/the people who entertain us through it. Just an added element that I thought was interesting. Thank you to NetGalley and Little, Brown and Company for an advanced copy.

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