Ruthie Toombs does deviant behavior and sarcastic characters oh-so-well. I discovered her writing with Deviant Memoirs which was independently published and really deserves a bigger audience.
When Feeding the Need begins Lilly is a hard-working, loving mother, wife and friend. She’s content and happy, a little stressed. She is the mother of a seven year old recently diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and a toddler but she seems to be dealing well. I liked her immediately. She’s sarcastic and real. She is not one of those perfectly nice mommies.
When a brat she thinks is an annoying whiner (not hers) hands her a flower she thinks, “maybe I like the little suckass a tiny bit.”
Describing a teacher: “The pretty woman looks really well put together with a sweater vest and pressed slacks considering she spent the day chasing nose pickers.”
One day, as her husband sees she may be near to losing it, he offers to take on the carpooling duties so she can have some quiet time. She takes him up on it, visits a local park and is clocked in the head with a flying tree limb. When she awakens in a hospital nine days later she learns she has a lesion on her brain that may cause behavior changes. What she doesn't tell the doctor, or anyone, is that she is intensely and painfully aroused and can think of little else but sex.
This becomes a major problem as the need for sex consumes her thoughts and her husband is unable to dim the “need”. He’s tired, poor bastard, but it’s not just that; she’s craving more, something forbidden and she fights these cravings with everything in her. But it becomes increasingly difficult with each passing day. Eventually feeding the need becomes more important to her than her family and that’s when the truly dangerous behavior begins.
You know what I love most about this book, well, besides the fabulous sarcasm? It’s complicated and unpredictable. Many genre books focus on good overcoming evil and feature main characters that may do naughty or evil things but almost always turn out to be good at the core, if you dig in deep enough. This work explores the idea that maybe some people only think they’re good people because they’re doing what is expected of them. What happens when impulse control is stripped away and one only feels truly satisfied and sane when doing what society deems deviant and destructive? What happens when a person is fighting for a life they’re not sure they really want anymore? This book explores that. It’s not pretty and it’s not safe but it sure is fascinating.
This is a story about sexual obsession and the destruction it wreaks on Lilly and all of those who love her. It is erotic but in an ugly, can’t look away, sort of way. It’s funny but also melancholy and brutally honest. In a short period of time Lilly’s behavior completely screws up her entire life and she is unable and unwilling to stop it. The more she gives in to what she really wants, damn the consequences, the more selfish and empowered she becomes.
“I am powerful in these moments. I’m not just somebody’s wife, or mother, or a goddamn food dispenser. I am alive and feeding on the stolen desire of others and I don’t want to stop.”
The characters are well drawn and I felt sympathy for Lilly, her husband Nate and the two little kids who were losing their mother. Lilly’s character changes immensely during this story and she drags the reader straight through the wringer right along with her.
Watch out for those flying tree limbs people because as the ominous prologue states:
“. . . there are things worse than death.”
I can’t wait to read whatever Ruthie Toombs writes because her voice is most definitely unique and one that works for me.