Nightbitch by Rachel Yoder
Hello folks, long time, no talk.
I wanted to do a ‘Happy New Year!’ post but then we all caught covid, and then it was back to work and back to the grind and by the time I had the headspace to actually write another blog, well, as you can tell, it’s now mid-Feb and I thought a HNY post would look a bit odd. I’m not entirely sure what happens to my headspace over winter – it’s like my entire mind shuts down and goes into hibernation mode. I don’t have the energy to anything except drag myself through the day and make sure we’re all alive by the end of it. Then – poof! – the nights start getting lighter, and slowly but surely my enthusiasm and creativity start to flow again, like thick sap rising slowly through a tree.
Anyway, enough of that. What I’m trying to say is that I’m hoping to blog slightly more regularly again – but who knows. I have a toddler and a large dog and a husband and a full time job – and although I’d love to put some time and energy into my blog or writing, by the end of the day I’m usually completely wiped out. But watch this space.
Bearing the above in mind, I thought I’d start off with a short review of a book I literally finished reading last night and thought was astounding – Nightbitch by Rachel Yoder.
Oh my god. I have never read a book where someone has absolutely nailed the nuances of motherhood – and I’m not talking about those newborn days, where you expect everything to be chaotic and frustrating and exhausting – I’m talking about the sheer relentless march of motherhood that seems to hit you once your child turns 2-3. You love them. Oh my, you love your child so much that sometimes it hurts and you would literally do anything for them so long as they’re safe and happy and healthy – but that doesn’t take away from the sheer mental slog it takes to get through each day.
Most books I’ve read that have characters with children either gloss over the darker aspects, or make everything into a frothy comedy, or (and this is my pet hate) they have other mummy friends and together with their ‘tribe’ they can take on anything and anyone.
My own experiences of motherhood have not been like that. I have never related so much to a book and a character as I did with Nightbitch. The sheer rage, the sheer joy, the unrelenting nature of trying to keep a small human alive while trying to remain true to yourself – all while your husband works away and you have no friends (mummy or otherwise) close by to help – yup, been there, done that, bought the t-shirt. As I finished the last page and closed the book, all I could think was ‘I wish this book had been around 3 years ago after I had the tiny terror. They need to hand this out to every mother leaving the maternity ward.’
Nightbitch is wonderful, captivating, sometimes slightly strange, but overall powerful read. And I don’t say that lightly – in fact, I can’t ever remember calling a book powerful before, because this is a book unlike any other I’ve read.
Are there any flaws? Well, to be honest, when I woke up this morning I did have a few questions – Wanda White is never entirely satisfactorily explained, who are the three dogs Nightbitch keeps seeing, and wouldn’t her husband put up a tiny bit of a fight/have a couple of questions about what’s been going on? But this book was so magical to read, that I don’t want to reread it and disturb the vision I have of it in my head right now. Some books I’m willing to reread to see if I can answer my own questions, but this one? I think I might leave this one be. It was enough for me to read it once and to feel like I was completely and utterly understood by the author.
I don’t want to go too deep into the actual content of the book for this review, because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. I feel like this is a book that you just have to read and make your own judgement call on. Maybe you’ll hate the way there are no speech marks and you never find out the main character’s name. Or maybe, like me, you’ll get used to that and just learn to enjoy the sheer wild ride that you’re about to embark upon.
Happy reading, and happy Sunday!
Have you read Nightbitch? If so, what were your thoughts?