2.5 out of 5 stars
she can’t sit here / with us anymore / & i’m sure we can all feel / the heaviness of her absence, / but even when every chair is taken / & everyone else has to stand, / it still feels like there will always be a space for her. / -your energy cannot be destroyed.
This was a very quick read. It was very easy to finish in one sitting, but this points to one of the big issues I had with this book. When I read a poem, and especially when I read a poetry collection, I expect to be compelled to reflect. I expect a good poetry collection to be something I am stuck in for days or weeks, something I keep thinking about and coming back to. This was definitely not that kind of poetry collection. The poems are more like paragraphs chopped into one or two-word increments and assembled to look like a stanza. Moreover, there is too little poetic usage of language in my opinion. This makes the themes come across as trite in some instances.
I was pretty excited to read this collection when I read the synopsis and heard some positive things about it. I liked the fairytale inspiration behind it and was expecting vivid, dreamy poems with a feminist tint. The themes of the collection are worthy and definitely need to be discussed, but I felt like the writing wasn’t skillful enough to do the themes justice or to really reach me as a reader on an emotional level. This felt like a poetry collection by a teenager and for a teenager. There is nothing at all wrong with that, though, and I think a teenage reader might get more out of this book than I did. There are some good messages about loving yourself and about denouncing rape culture. The fourth and final part of the collection titled “& You” is pretty motivational and probably just what some teenagers need to hear.
emily— / i often / find myself / wondering / if you are still / out there / trying to find / yourself by / candlelight. / is sylvia there / beside you, / guiding / the way with / the old / brag / of her / beating / heart? / does / virginia / have / a room / all her own? / & what about / harriet / & anne / & harper? / does / a woman / ever / find / her peace?
I’ve interspersed some excerpts that reached me the most. I would recommend this book to young readers that aren’t quite sure about poetry. It’s a quick read to give you a taste and to make you think about some important issues (body image, rape culture, self-love/care).
My copy of this book was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, NetGalley and Andrews McMeel Publishing for helping me get a copy of this book.