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!
My fiancee and I loved this book! We both finished it in one day.
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