on 4 February 2011
I interpriated this book as a look at the psyche of adolsents and it adresses all sorts of matter, mainly sexual but also guilt, vandalism, peodophilia, drugs, murder and drink (to name but a few).
The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is that the book can sometimes read like it's having an identity crisis. At times the flow and language of the author made it feel like a "teen-horror", then it was "Mills and Boon" and finally a bit of Stephen King. Personally the darkness promised on the back cover is the biggest dissappointment as the book trails more into bizarre, and at some stages comedy, than the journey into the darkness of a disturbed teenage boy that I expected. This really could have been one deep dark disturbing masterpiece, instead it's much lighter and very easy reading.
I can see why some people have labelled this book as utter rubbish as the line between genius and nonsense in such novels is wafer thin, but for me Joyce pulled it off, just.
on 3 January 2012
I borrowed this book from the library many years ago, I have read it many times since. That first time was around the festive period and I recall devoting two entire day and nights to its pages. What I recall most about that time, apart from it being Yule, is that I was spooked. This coming from a collector of horror movies and fiction, someone who has watched the creepiest movies and read just about every book in the horror/fantasy genre but I was genuinely looking over my shoulder, jumping at the slightest sound because I was totally drawn in The Tooth Fairy sat at the end of my bed, he/she followed my progress up the stairs, he/she haunted the periphery of my vision. I will not go into detail about the outline of this story because many others have done so already but if you are a lover of atmospheric fiction and of a good scare you will love my absolute favourite book of all time.
I'd actually picked up this novel and put it back on the bookshop shelves on several occasions before I finally decided to buy it last week. Why I put it back, I can't be sure - possibly I was put off by the blurb on the back, which makes it sound like a trashy horror novel (the book is in the ever-diminishing Horror section in Waterstone's). I like horror; I dislike trashy horror. I'm glad, however, that I eventually caved in, because The Tooth Fairy was a thoroughly enjoyable and often touching read, part horror novel, part coming-of-age novel, part psychological thriller.
Sam Southall, aged seven at the start of the novel and living in the Midlands, loses a tooth. Debating the existence of the Tooth Fairy with his best friends, Terry and Clive, he agrees to the precocious Clive's plan: to find out once and for all whether the Tooth Fairy exists, he should put his tooth under the pillow without telling his parents. That night, Sam receives a visit from the reeking, androgynous, vicious Tooth Fairy - a Tooth Fairy who is dangerously furious that Sam can see it, and who comes to exert a dangerous influence over not just Sam, but his friends. Sometimes, the Tooth Fairy is threatening, even violent; frequently vindictive; sometimes, seductive; occasionally jealous and needy. Sometimes, it even professes to be helpful - but the Tooth Fairy's particular brand of 'help' is the most terrifying of all.
Is the Tooth Fairy real, or simply a manifestation of Sam's own negative emotions - his guilt, his shyness, the sexual frustrations of his adolescence and his sense of inadequacy? Sam's psychiatrist, muttering about paranoia and smelling of Johnnie Walker, thinks the Tooth Fairy will disappear when Sam meets 'a girl'. But if that's the case, how can Sam explain the accidents and misfortune that occasionally befall people who betray him?
Personally, I wouldn't have shelved The Tooth Fairy in the Horror section: it's so much more than that. The evocation of a suburban childhood in England in the 60s is full of well-chosen details, and the story of Sam, Terry and Clive, as well as the seemingly sophisticated Alice (whose 'relationship' with her 'boyfriend' suggests that she is actually the most vulnerable of them all), is perfectly realised.
My only issue with the story was perhaps the end - a bit too easy, perhaps, a bit of a cop-out? Otherwise, though, a chilling, intelligent, ambiguous read.
on 3 May 2011
Whilst Sam's encounters with the tooth fairy illustrates the problems of growing up, it is his relationship with the landscape of his childhood that I most empathised with. The reaction of the Redstone Moodies (otherwise known as the Heads Looked At boys) the gradual backfilling of 'their' lake - a reaction which they are barely able to articulate - perfectly illustrates their reaction to change in the years that follow in the incident in which the pike bites off two of Terry's toes on his left foot.
on 10 April 2002
'The Tooth Fairy' intrigues from the outset, then gets to the point and stays there, making it a real page-turner; I finished it in two days. The book tells the story of a boy's relationship with a fairy being from the age of five to eighteen, and the effect it has on him and those close to him.
If you are not a fan of Fantasy - DON'T BE PUT OFF BY THE TITLE! The author wisely uses the most interesting features of 'fairy' without bogging the story down with unnecessary background or desription. Fear not, the fairy realm is visited only once, and very briefly. This focus on the character of the Tooth Fairy, at the expense of exploring it's traditions, home or family maintains a strong sense of reality in the story.
Graham Joyce accurately portrays grubby teenage boys and the horrid things they get up to. This book is liable to stir up memories of the stupid and sometimes dangerous activites we get involved with in our youth. If you can't remember any of your own, you have probably blocked them from your memory due to the apalling shame or embarrassment.
I think this book will be best liked by the young at heart who feverently wish for the exsistance of some 'other' in our lives. But, it can and should be enjoyed by anyone who appreciates fine storytelling. This is the first Graham Joyce novel I have read, but it will be the first of many for me.
on 12 May 2014
I really wanted to like this book. It sounded like it would be dark and scary and a good read. It wasn't. It was more like a bad, low budget, channel 5 film. It wasn't just that though, it was a silly story in my opinion.
on 11 February 2014
I loved it.
In the vein of Neil Gaiman or Stephen King, it is a viscerally disturbing story of a young boy's reluctant fascination with his own personal "Tooth Fairy". Like most of Graham Joyce's work, it describes teenage lives, burgeoning sexuality, the unfairness of life as a young teen, and dark things that lurk at the edge of your imagination.
God forbid I ever saw my own tooth fairy.
A very clever book, and I LOVE clever books. Especially novels with a dark and nasty undercurrent.