Backstory team pick: Andrews is great on what it means to be young and living life precariously. Her descriptions of Barcelona are so good, you can taste them. Tom
A girl grows up in the north-east of England amid scarcity, precarity and a toxic culture of bodily shame, certain that she must make herself ever smaller to be loved. Years later, living in tiny rented rooms and working in noisy bars across London and Paris, she fights to create her own life.
She meets someone who cracks her open and offers her a new way to experience the world. But when he invites her to join him in Barcelona, the promise of pleasure and care makes her uneasy. In the shimmering heat of the Mediterranean, she faces the possibility of a different existence, and must choose what to hold on to from her past.
How do we learn to take up space? Why might we deny ourselves good things? Milk Teeth is a story of desire and the body, shame and joy. In vivid and lyrical prose, and with deep compassion, Jessica Andrews examines what it means to allow ourselves to live.