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I was recently reminded of this when reading a story about a zombie apocalypse and the trope of keeping a zombified loved one locked away in hopes of a cure. In this case, I don't think there was an apocalypse, but it was simply a matter of that the mother hungered for flesh. Her daughter (there might have been more than one) keep her locked away in the basement and feed her stray animals (I think that there was an aspect where the mother wouldn't eat any meat that wasn't still alive) and generally tried to keep anyone else from realizing the situation, although I think they were starting to run out of animals to abduct. It was all rendered very much in a "young children trying to keep the world from knowing they were on their own" vein, but with a slightly fantastic vein.

The other story aspect, and I think the one that was introduced at the beginning of the book, involved a girl who loved trees, and associated them with childhood memories. When one of them is cut down (I think on someone else's property, so they had a right to cut it down), she goes on a mild rampage of vandalism of their house before she's picked up by the police, who basically pass it off as a childish tantrum. I don't recall what association, if any, she has with the girl with the mother in the basement.

I read this somewhere in the last ten years (I know I read it while married because I remember trying to explain the plot to my wife), I think about four years ago in 2018, as a book checked out from the library (which, unfortunately, as I've mentioned before, involves a long enough history that it makes a scan through titles time-prohibitive). I'm 90% certain it was a physical book, not an eBook. I don't think I finished it, in part due to other obligations at the time, and in part because the narrative depressed me.

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One Bloody Thing After Another by Joey Comeau.

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The two girls are Jackie and Ann. Jackie is the one who associates trees with memories. For example she has a "first-kiss tree" and a "broken-arm tree". When one of the trees is cut down she loses it and throws a rock through a car window. Jackie's mother is dead but haunts her as a ghost.

Ann is the girl with the crazed mother imprisoned in the basement. She and her sister Margaret have to feed their mother with live animals.

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  • Ah, and that makes sense that it would pop up in my mind, because I was recently editing an entry for Comeau's The Summer Is Ended And We Are Not Yet Saved, which I think had led me to One Bloody Thing After Another.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Dec 1, 2022 at 17:52

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