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Nightbitch  By  cover art

Nightbitch

By: Rachel Yoder
Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell
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Interview: 'Nightbitch' Sinks Its Teeth into the Untamed and Untapped Power of Motherhood

'This book is me taking a lifetime of thinking and not saying, and finally saying it.'
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  • Nightbitch
  • 'This book is me taking a lifetime of thinking and not saying, and finally saying it.'

Publisher's Summary

In this blazingly smart and voracious debut novel, an artist turned stay-at-home mom becomes convinced she's turning into a dog.

"A must-read for anyone who can’t get enough of the ever-blurring line between the psychological and supernatural that Yellowjackets exemplifies." (Vulture)

One day, the mother was a mother, but then one night, she was quite suddenly something else....

An ambitious mother puts her art career on hold to stay at home with her newborn son, but the experience does not match her imagination. Two years later, she steps into the bathroom for a break from her toddler's demands, only to discover a dense patch of hair on the back of her neck. In the mirror, her canines suddenly look sharper than she remembers. Her husband, who travels for work five days a week, casually dismisses her fears from faraway hotel rooms.

As the mother's symptoms intensify, and her temptation to give in to her new dog impulses peak, she struggles to keep her alter-canine-identity secret. Seeking a cure at the library, she discovers the mysterious academic tome which becomes her bible, A Field Guide to Magical Women: A Mythical Ethnography, and meets a group of mommies involved in a multilevel-marketing scheme who may also be more than what they seem. 

An outrageously original novel of ideas about art, power, and womanhood wrapped in a satirical fairy tale, Nightbitch will make you want to howl in laughter and recognition. And you should. You should howl as much as you want.

©2021 Rachel Yoder (P)2021 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

A Best Book of the Year: Vulture and Esquire

“[A] wily and unrestrained debut.... You can feel Yoder breaking loose, too, like she’s just self-injected a serum mixed with her protagonist’s blood.... With its endorsement of a magical text as more cathartic than any mommy memoir, Nightbitch makes the case for itself, and for fiction that expands motherhood into new, surreal dimensions. I’ve seen myself in all the clever, recondite novels of beleaguered mothers. The moaning and groaning, the searching and yearning are real. Yoder sees a new way into the baser kinks of our animal selves, the ineffable bodily transformation of a woman into a mother. What is fiction for, if not blowing life up into the freakish myth it appears to be?” (The New Yorker)

"[Nightbitch] might well be the debut of the year. A feral fairy tale of maternal dissatisfaction, it’s best to go into this one knowing as little possible, the better to let Yoder work her devious magic on you." (Chicago Review of Books

"All the cool-mom book groups - all the parent book groups, really - should read Nightbitch.... It feels like reading a deliciously long text from your smartest friend, with a hint of Kafka, if Kafka lived in the age of mommy bloggers and designer doggy raincoats. No need to be a parent, a dog owner, or a fan of magical realism to enjoy; Yoder writes about contemporary anxieties with so much intelligence and charm that she can cause you to reflect without spiraling into deep depression. That’s a feat, these days, greater than metamorphosis." (Glamour

What listeners say about Nightbitch

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Does it get interesting ever?

This book is SO boring. Told from the 3rd person perspective as a mother, this woman keeps on complaining about everything around her and honestly, it’s raising my cortisol levels just listening. Does it ever get interesting?
I was a mother and I had more interesting stories to tell…
What a waste of credit.

8 people found this helpful

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If you don’t get it just say so

If you don’t get this book, I’m sorry. And based on the number of negative reviews I see on here, a bunch of folks don’t get it. THATS OKAY. You will know if this book is right for you within several minutes of reading it. It’s not supposed to make you feel comforted or happy, it’s supposed to unsettle you and challenge you. Challenge notions of womanhood, motherhood, femininity, economy, domesticity, and so on.
If you liked “The Stepford Wives,” you’ll probably find this book a treat.
If you don’t want to have children, this book will make you double down. If you do want to have children or already have children, this book will validate the work and struggle and gendered inequality of (a cis-het family) child rearing.
I found this book to be exquisite.
But if you don’t, just walk away and let the rest of us enjoy the feral bliss of it.

7 people found this helpful

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WTF did I just listen to?

I laughed a few times, but mostly I was just asking myself WTF? I tried to return after a couple chapters, but it wouldn’t let me. I finished it just because, but I would not recommend.

3 people found this helpful

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Borderline Personality Mom! unlikable character.

Author starts off strong with focus on the struggles of becoming mom, but then just turns into a self absorbed all about me attention seeker. Two funny situations is all I got , I was disappointed in the lack of humor. With the understanding she has wild animal in her she kills wildlife, but to shank the cat just for shock value seemed ridiculous; I'm not sure what the author was trying to depict, so the character is already void of empathy but the cat killing put her from Borderline Personality Disorder straight to Psychopath. Also, trying to depict the dog bond with the boy felt like an act, some moms spend a great deal of energy portraying how much they love there kids in public... until they get home and the act is over. I was concerned about the boy getting killed through the entire book. The mom finally feels happiness once she is in control on stage trying to shock the audience, after all, being the center of attention is where she wanted to be. The Mom being a psychopath narcissist takes away from the new strong, female, alpha character I was hoping for, instead she took a new wonderful wild ability and used it to shock an audience, once again for attention.

2 people found this helpful

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Just so dreadfully boring

I tried. I really did. I dig a good storyline and some woman thinking she's turning into a dog is my kind of deranged. But this book was so dreadfully boring. I listened for about three hours because the narrator was good. But no amount of talent on the reader's part is going to make this story even remotely interesting. And, dear god, why not give the main character a name beyond The Mother. So much droning on about nothing. And who the F*** says "heretofore" IRL? Thank GOD I got a refund on the credit I wasted on this.

1 person found this helpful

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(Tantalizingly bold) style over substance

The writing style is great and the premise is daring. However, the underlying message won't be anything new for the target audience of young mothers balancing the demands of parenthood with a waning sense of self. This novel is preaching to the choir. The author proselytized her message explicitly in several long passages when she could have revealed it more effectively by better developing her central allegory. The conclusion didn't provide enough of a payoff and too many questions remained unanswered.

1 person found this helpful

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HOWL!

This book is a must read. Nightbitch leads you through the unsaid, unseen parts of mothering, the loss of identity, and how the path back to yourself requires what might look like transformative, almost magical surrender, but really is an act of self love and advocacy for domestic balance. WHERE DO YOU GO AT NIGHT? 🐕

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hooked immediately

As a mother of three I don't actually have time to read, but for this book I made the time. I took a couple late walks and laid in the yard with the pups while the world kept spinning. it was a great story and made my bones ache to transform into night bitch myself. I may have a bit.

1 person found this helpful

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WEIRD lol

I’m not a mother so I don’t feel it’s fair for me to critique what I may not understand. From what I’ve read and observed in my book club, this book really resonates with moms. For me, the book was well written and performed and I could totally picture everything playing out. But it was just so weird and I just didn’t really get it. While I found the story interesting, I just kept waiting for the other shoe to drop and it never did.

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I just can't be made to care

Could not get past 2 hours of well written, but rather boring complaints of the mother. I might be missing something, but if I am, at this point, I just don't care.

1 person found this helpful