Book Review

Tender is the Flesh

His wife has left him, his father is sinking into dementia, and Marcos tries not to think too hard about how he makes a living. After all, it happened so quickly. First, it was reported that an infectious virus has made all animal meat poisonous to humans. Then governments initiated the “Transition.” Now, eating human meat—“special meat”—is legal. Marcos tries to stick to numbers, consignments, processing.

Then one day he’s given a gift: a live specimen of the finest quality. Though he’s aware that any form of personal contact is forbidden on pain of death, little by little he starts to treat her like a human being. And soon, he becomes tortured by what has been lost—and what might still be saved.

(Goodreads Summary) 

My Thoughts 

THIS FREAKING BOOOOOOK…. Where to begin with discussing this disgustingly disturbing terrifying book that I had to stop reading countless times because of small anxiety attacks. 

This book got me good. 

I am so shocked at how disturbed I was by this book. I usually don’t get disturbed. I will take horror and mayhem however I can get it, but this book sucked me in and just shook me to my rotten core. 

The content is VERY disturbing and not for the faint of heart. I mean people view and breed other humans because they need to have the taste of meat. Instead of foregoing any type of animal product, they decide that humans are the next best thing. Some characters go even farther and start to claim this new meat is a delicacy and will go to great lengths to ensure they only eat and enjoy the best. (INCLUDING HUNTING PEOPLE FOR SPORT!) 

The people of this dystopia also don’t refer to the meat as human, they call it “special meat.” This definitely reminded me that people don’t refer to meat as cow or pig, but instead use beef and pork to refer to our sacrificial animal friends. We are just not comfortable with embracing that we are in fact eating a dead animal and this author made this fact so blatantly obvious. 

Of course this notion is an allegory to our daily lives where people don’t really care where their food comes from, they just want it and don’t care how they get it. (This book really got my English major brain going and I even highlighted and made notes in the margin!) 

Although the actual content was horrible and would give any normal human a panic attack, that is not what made me stop reading and need a break. 


It was the way characters in the book discussed the process of raising, slaughtering, butchering, packaging, and distributing the, “special meat,” in such a blase manner. 


They talked about killing humans for food as though you were discussing your grocery list. That was the true and awe striking horror of this masterpiece: How people adapt and how terrible and horrifying things can become the norm so quickly. 

Also… everyone in this book IS TERRIBLE. 

LIKE. I would eat them for dinner terrible. They deserved to be the ones eaten. 

The ending… MARCOS CAN SUCK ALL THE D*CKS. I was stunned and then it ended. It was amazing. 

This book was such a wonderful and jaw dropping reflection of the true horrors of society. It is probably in my top 10 best books I’ve ever read. 

They need to add this book to reading lists everywhere. It is amazing. I will never stop recommending this book. 

My Book Rating

5/5 Book World 

5/5 Plot 

5/5 Characters

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Book Details

Tender is the Flesh by  Agustina Bazterrica, Sarah Moses (Translator)

Genre: Dystopian Science Fiction  

Published on August 4, 2020

Copy Read: Paperback 

Pages: 211

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