My fiancee and I loved this book! We both finished it in one day.
Straaange book concerning old-fashioned backstabbing in the New South. Take two southern girls, add their competitive mothers, throw in a nice girl from the wrong side of the tracks, and you've got the beginnings of a lot of goings on!
I picked this book up awhile ago because I was intrigued by the title. This was one brutal book. The story of three girls growing up in the South, complete with sex, self-mutilation, cheerleading, summer camp, freak shows, and sorority rush, I was amazed by how much viciousness could be packed into an extremely entertaining read. This one left me shaking my head, but it was good.
In Eating the Cheshire Cat, three little girls are born into the rigorous tradition of Southern womanhood, with all its standards of grace, beauty, and cutthroat competitiveness. Sarina, mean from birth and pretty as love, has the best chance of achieving Southern queenhood. Bitty Jack and Nicole are the two girls she leaves in her perfumed wake in this novel of friendship gone sour. Sweet-natured Bitty Jack attends summer camp with Sarina, who accuses Bitty Jack's father, the camp handyman, of being a pervert and ruins his life. Bitty Jack quietly nurtures a grudge. Nicole, meanwhile, suffers a frenzied obsession with Sarina throughout their adolescence and college years, an obsession that results in uniquely macabre expressions of love.
Helen Ellis's first novel tries to walk with its two feet simultaneously in three different territories, and if that sounds a little uncomfortable, well, it is. Eating the Cheshire Cat plays at the Southern Gothic surreal: Bitty Jack's first love affair is with a circus freak and the novel ends in an unsurprising sororal bloodbath. But it also toys with the comic: Sarina hatches elaborate plans to cover her reputation-building lies. And, at its best, it casts a cold, even a sociological, eye on the doings of Southern American princesses: Ellis describes the pledging of the Tri Delt sorority in loving detail. If, for instance, a girl doesn't make the Tuscaloosa chapter, she could "rush Auburn two weeks later. Maybe the girl would make Tri Delt there. But everyone knew that wasn't as good. It was an agricultural college, for crying out loud. At the Alabama-Auburn football games, those girls were known as Delta Dogs." It's a relief when Ellis lets her cattiness run wild--and doesn't goop it up with fake gore
Wow!! This is the ultimate mean girl book. Not just mean, but vicious! One girl is the ultimate Queen Bee mean girl who will stop at nothing to get what she wants. Her mother is even worse and will stop at nothing to get what she wants for her daughter. Girl #2 is caught in mean girl's web to the point of obsession and eventual mental derangement. But again the apple does not fall far from the tree and girl #2's mom will stop at nothing to get what she wants for HER daughter . . . to the point of mental derangement. Then there is girl #3. A nice girl from the other side of the tracks who keeps getting thrown by circumstance into the path of the Queen Bee/mean girl, chewed up and spit out. Add to all of the characters that they live in the south where rush and being a Tri Delt at Alabama is the ultimate goal. Roll Tide. You travel with these girls through high school and college and all of their meanness and backstabbing. This book has it all: jealousy, bitterness, selfishness, cutting, infidelity, sexual abuse accusations, sororities, carnival freak shows, summer camp, cheerleading, mother/daughter relationships, etc. Funny, but a dark funny. It gets 4 stars instead of 5 because it was . . . mean. Which I guess was the point of the book! Well written and in short chapters, this is a quick read. I have another book by this author and it has just moved to the top of the TBR stack.