Some books simply work. "Weak Teeth" by Lynsey May is one of them. In approaching this book I have to admit to having wondered how the author managed to pitch the idea to her agent or publisher. The thought of telling someone's story through a focus on their history of dental problems may well be unique: and, it has to be said, isn't instantly appealing. But perhaps because of the very unexpected premise you find yourself as a reader into being drawn into the central character's life and woes in a way that is very engaging. The result is an enjoyable and thought-provoking novel that can be read at different levels depending on your preferred approach.
For an idea of what to expect between the covers, you need look no further than the publisher's blurb: "Ellis’s life has crumbled without warning. Her boyfriend has fallen in love with someone else, her job’s insecure, her bank account’s empty and she has a mouthful of unreliable teeth. Forced back to her childhood home, there is little in the way of comfort. Her mum is dating a younger man (a dentist, no less) and is talking of selling the house, her sister, Lana, is furious all the time, and a distant cousin has now arrived from the States to stay with them. During a long, hot Edinburgh summer, Ellis’s world spins out of control. She’s dogged by toothache, her ex won’t compensate her for the flat and somehow she’s found herself stalking his new lover on Facebook. Will Ellis realise before it’s too late that the bite she was born with is worth preserving?"
In a novel like this, so much depends on the author's handling of their characters. Lynsey May has drawn hers beautifully. Ellis is completely believable and you find yourself hoping that she's going to sort her life out before it becomes still more messed up. The secondary characters also come off the page as real people and the understated humour that pervades the book provides a nice emotional balance to some of the issues Ellis has to face. This is Lynsey May's first novel and it's an extremely impressive first outing that shows off her considerable talents as an author.