Excerpt: You Know You Want This by Kristen Roupenian

About the Book:


You Know You Want This brilliantly explores the ways in which women are horrifying as much as it captures the horrors that are done to them. Among its pages are a couple who becomes obsessed with their friend hearing them have sex, then seeing them have sex…until they can’t have sex without him; a ten-year-old whose birthday party takes a sinister turn when she wishes for “something mean”; a woman who finds a book of spells half hidden at the library and summons her heart’s desire: a nameless, naked man; and a self-proclaimed “biter” who dreams of sneaking up behind and sinking her teeth into a green-eyed, long-haired, pink-cheeked coworker. 

Read an Excerpt:

Featured in Aug/Sept 2019 Issue: Fierce Female


Ellie was a biter. She bit other kids in preschool, bit her cousins, bit her mom. By the time she was four years old, she was going to a special doctor twice a week to “work on” biting. At the doctor’s, Ellie made two dolls bite each other, and then the dolls talked about how biting and being bitten made them feel. (“Ouch,” one said. “Sorry,” said the other. “I feel sad about that,” said the one. “I feel happy,” said the other. “But . . . sorry again.”) She brainstormed lists of things she could do instead of biting, like raise her hand and ask for help, or take a deep breath and count to ten. At the doctor’s suggestion, Ellie’s parents put a chart on Ellie’s bedroom door, and Ellie’s mom put a gold star on it for every day Ellie didn’t bite.

But Ellie loved biting, even more than she loved gold stars, and she kept on biting, joyfully and fiercely, until one day, after preschool, pretty Katie Davis pointed at Ellie and whispered loudly to her dad: “That one’s Ellie. No one likes her. She bites people,” and Ellie felt so sick with shame she didn’t bite anyone again for more than twenty years.

As an adult, though her active biting days were behind her, Ellie still indulged in daydreams in which she stalked her coworkers around the office, biting them. For example, she imagined sneaking into the copy room where Thomas Widdicomb was collating reports, so engrossed in his task that he didn’t notice Ellie creeping up behind him on all fours. Ellie, what on earth, Thomas Widdicomb would cry, in the final seconds before Ellie sunk her teeth into his plump and hairy calf.

For while the world had succeeded in shaming Ellie out of biting, it couldn’t make her forget the joy of tiptoeing behind Robbie Kettrick while he was standing at the craft table, smugly stacking blocks. Everything is normal, quiet, boring, and then here comes Ellie—CHOMP! Now Robbie Kettrick is screaming like a baby and everybody is scrambling and yelling, and Ellie is no longer just a little girl but a wild creature pacing the halls of the preschool, sowing chaos and destruction in her wake.

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