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The Tooth Fairy
Graham Joyce
Tor Books, 320 pages

The Tooth Fairy
Graham Joyce
Graham Joyce's other novels include Dark Sister (1992), House of Lost Dreams (1993) and Requiem (1995).

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A review by Margo MacDonald

It's hard to say whether I liked this book or not. On the one hand, it is very well written. It moves along at a tumbling pace and Joyce is able to evoke strong and disturbing images. On the other hand, I'm not sure I enjoyed spending time in the world of these young boys. None of the characters are really likable and there is an aura of mean-spiritedness that pervades the novel. (Is that really what being a boy feels like? If it is, I'm glad I never was one.)

The story follows a boy named Sam and his pals out of childhood and into teenage-hood. This is a pretty typical "coming of age" story -- lots of sex, experimentation and violence -- but with a slight twist: Sam can see the Tooth Fairy. Course this fairy is more of a punk fairy -- no light and gossamer for this leather clad, army boot wearing entity.

Actually, the Tooth Fairy doesn't have that much to do with the plot, though he/she/it keeps popping up and creating small havoc now and then. In fact, the whole story could have been told without this supernatural element, which is disappointing. It's hard to say, though, whether the Fairy adds to the mean-spiritedness in the story or is merely a symbol of it.

I think the book is probably worth reading if good writing is what you are after. However, I found the atmosphere depressing, the outcome not much better and I was left feeling somehow slightly soiled for having entered the world of Joyce's boys -- but maybe that was the effect he was after all along.

Copyright © 1998 by Margo MacDonald

Margo has always been drawn toward fantasy and, at the age of 5, decided to fill her life with it by pursuing a career as a professional actress. Aside from theatre (and her husband), Margo's passion has been for books. Her interests are diverse and eclectic, but the bulk fall within the realm of speculative fiction. She tells us that her backlog has reached 200 books and she's ready to win the lottery and retire.

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