Review – On the Savage Side by Tiffany McDaniel

Posted February 14, 2023 by Carole in Reviews / 6 Comments

I received this book for free from the publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review – On the Savage Side by Tiffany McDanielOn the Savage Side by Tiffany McDaniel
Narrator: Catherine Taber
Published by Knopf, Penguin Random House Audio on February 14, 2023
Genres: Fiction / Literary
Length: 16 hours 41 minutes
Pages: 464
Format: ARC, Audiobook
Source: Publisher
Amazon | Audible | B&N | Kobo |

Six women—mothers, daughters, sisters—gone missing. Inspired by the unsolved murders of the Chillicothe Six, this harrowing novel tells the story of two sisters, both of whom could be the next victims, from the internationally best-selling author of Betty.

"Capture[s] what goes horribly wrong when women don’t fit a customary victim profile...McDaniel artfully evokes each facet of their common humanity, the sinuous landscape, and defiant community in the face of evil." —Oprah Daily

Arcade and Daffodil are twins born one minute apart. With their fiery red hair and thirst for escape, they form an unbreakable bond nurtured by their grandmother’s stories. Together, they disappear into their imaginations and forge a world all their own.

But what the two sisters can’t escape are the generational ghosts that haunt their family. Growing up in the shadow of their rural Ohio town, the sisters cling tightly to one another. Years later, Arcade wrestles with the memories of her early life, just as a local woman is discovered drowned in the river. Soon, more bodies are found. As her friends disappear around her, Arcade is forced to reckon with the past while the killer circles closer. Arcade’s promise to keep herself and her sister safe becomes increasingly desperate and the powerful riptide of the savage side becomes more difficult to survive.

Drawing from the true story of women killed in Chillicothe, Ohio, acclaimed novelist and poet Tiffany McDaniel has written a moving literary testament and fearless elegy for missing women everywhere.

This is a powerful and beautifully written book. When I pick up a book, I hope that it makes me feel something, even if what I end up feeling is uncomfortable. This book did exactly that. It could be hard to read at times since it deals with drug use and sexual abuse but I am so glad that I did. This was a visceral story that I won’t soon forget.

This story follows a set of twins, Arc and Daffy, from childhood until their early adult years. The bulk of the story is told from Arc’s point of view. I felt the desperation along with Arc and Daffy and wanted to see them come out on top even though the deck was very much stacked against them. Their mother and aunt are prostitutes and drug addicts and to say that their home life is lacking is an understatement. Their grandmother was a bright spot in their childhood. My heart broke over some of the decisions that they made but I love the fact that I was able to understand why they did what they did.

Catherine Taber did an amazing job with this audiobook. This was such an emotional story and I thought that she did a great job of expressing those emotions through her narration. I believe that this is the first time that I have had the chance to listen to this narrator’s work and I was quite impressed. I found her voice to be very pleasant and I do believe that her performance added to my enjoyment of the story.

I would recommend this book to others. I would encourage any reader with triggers to look up trigger warnings for this book before diving in. Scenes from this book will live in my mind for a very long time and the writing is absolutely gorgeous. I cannot wait to read more of this author’s work.

I received a review copy of this book from Knopf and Penguin Random House Audio.

6 responses to “Review – On the Savage Side by Tiffany McDaniel

  1. I love it when a book makes me feel all kinds of emotions, even those that are a little not too comforting, it is usually a sign of a really well-written story. So, I am very happy that you loved this book, sounds quite powerful, indeed!

  2. I have watched everything I could find on the Chillcothe Six so I’m definitely intrigued. This does sound like a grim read but very interesting. I will definitely check trigger warnings though.