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 one another?
Perfect for fans of modernized fairytales. Unlike many other books in the genre, this story isn’t simply a retelling with a twist; rather, it’s a sweeping look into the psyches and traumas of some of your favorite heroines ... Brings stunning new depth to oftentimes simplistically represented characters ... Shocking, surprisingly humorous, and heavily in tune with modern depictions of feminine trauma and the surprising bonds such experiences can create between wildly different personalities, How to Be Eaten is a richly imaginative read for those who like their fairytales on the darker side.
How to Be Eaten never quite lives up to its premise, making for a frustrating read ... There is a certain delight in seeing how Adelman transforms well-known fairy tales and fairy tale tropes into the modern world ... The conceit of bringing these women together in a weekly trauma support group means that each of the women tells her story through the course of one of the group’s meetings ... But without a compelling plot, none of the disparate elements ever quite jell together, making the book feel like an extended collection of short stories.
Adelmann shatters 'happily ever after,' showing how the women’s lives are haunted in the aftermath of their disturbing experiences, and brilliantly brings to light the historical exploitation and manipulation of female trauma in the media. With the current fascination with true crime and reality television, this powerful first novel holds up a mirror to the reader and challenges our perceptions of truth.