Nightbitch by Rachel Yoder Book Review

INSANE journey of a book. In the very best of ways.

I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to get into this book at first, put off by this idea of the literal transformation of the story’s human protagonist into a dog, but Rachel Yoder’s impeccable writing made her physical transformation just as poignant and as meaningful as her psychological one. The metaphor of Nightbitch’s transformation into a dog displays the animalistic side of motherhood, the side that can be ugly while being strangely beautiful, in all of its love and its violence. Motherhood is a complex, multi-faceted gift, and a curse, and a miracle.

The concept of having all the time in the world as a stay-at-home mom but no time at all to dedicate to yourself was gruesomely tragic to experience through Nightbitch’s perspective, and her descent before her rise had my heart pounding through all her trials and tribulations and breakdowns. I loved how her character expressed this burning, instinctual love for her son in an animalistic way alongside this very human resentment and frustration at being completely ruled by him, her life utterly dictated by him to the point where she hated him.

Raw and honest and real and bold, this book had the perfect incorporation of themes of horror and of the supernatural. It touches on motherhood uniquely and bizarrely, depicting how its immensity and mysticism is so life-changing it can make or break an individual. The concept of experiencing, as Nightbitch does, this permanent loss of dreams for herself as a woman, losing the mental capability to pursue any pre-motherhood desires to the point where she forgets who she is and why she exists except to BE a mother, as well as what Nightbitch believes to be a loss of her own intelligence and the death of her creativity after becoming a mother, were completely heartbreaking and harrowing. It only makes her rage more powerful.

At one point, the book presents this almost theory of how pregnancy and motherhood itself changes the being you are to your very core, both physically and mentally, and may alter you forever. Okay, terrifying. It also delves into how birth and motherhood are “the impossible” and grant women this sort of status as godly, as creators, as the powers that be. Okay, awesome.

Rachel Yoder—you’ve DONE it. I’m going to be thinking about your story for a long time. A book that dares to question motherhood, womanhood, humanity, feminine power, divine intervention, inspiration, and the powers beyond us all.

This is a PERFECT book.

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