Book review: Burn the Fairy Tales by Adeline Whitmore

Burn the Fairy Tales by Adeline Whitmore
Rating: ★☆☆☆☆
Links: AmazonTBDGoodreads
Publication Date: July 29, 2017
Source: Borrowed
Kill the prince. Give the princess a sword. Send her into battle. Watch her win. This poetry book is a work of feminist self-empowerment for women and of understanding for men. It deals with love, loss, self discovery, self love, grief, and inspiration.

In case you hadn’t noticed, I went from reading no poetry over the course of my life to reading a ton of poetry in 2018. I’m not sure what happened, really, other than I started using my library a lot more and I have made more bookish friends. Anyway, Gerry recommended that I read this, not in a “wow, I really loved it” way but more in a “hmm, I didn’t like it and I think you won’t like it either but I’d like to hear your thoughts” kind of way. In other words, I was basically advised to hate-read this, and if that’s not my favorite, I don’t know what is. Thank god this was free via the Kindle Owners Lending Library.

Anyway, I decided that the best way to review this collection is to just type whatever comes to mind while reading, so here you go. My more-or-less linear thoughts while reading Burn the Fairy Tales.

Some sections of some poems are okay:

you
were whole before him

you
are still whole without him

do not
define yourself by him

define yourself by yourself

whole

But also some have grammatical errors and holy hell, if that doesn’t drive me crazy:

[…]

let me peak
into the depths of your soul

[…]

depths

(A “peak” is a high point, like the top of a mountain. A “peek” is a glimpse, a look, a view.)

Some non-poems (remember, sentences with line breaks aren’t poetry):

if a man
has sex
with a woman who is

unconscious
drugged
drunk
or doesn’t
actively consent

it’s rape
end of story

— sex part 2

(I appreciate the sentiment but this is a sentence, not a poem.)

if he apologizes but doesn’t change the apology
means nothing

— sorry

Again, this is true, but it’s literally just a sentence with one line break, I don’t understand how this is poetry.

every
tiny detail about you
is beautiful

— beautiful

And yet again, this is just! a! sentence! with! line! breaks!

And now I feel really awkward because I am hating this book and I just got to this poem:

i don’t want
to keep putting in hours for someone else

i want
this book
to sell well
and i want
to live my life
in financial freedom

so please
post about this book tell your friends leave reviews

this
is my future on the line

and it
is in
your hands

— independent

😬😬😬

Another non-poem:

not everything you lose is a loss

— loss

(This one doesn’t even have a line break??)

Oh, it’s done. I mean, I’m not like a poetry connoisseur or anything, but I feel like this wasn’t good. It’s also really weirdly formatted, which shouldn’t really figure into my rating, but it does. The title of the next poem was often smashed into the last line of the previous poem, which was just weird and confusing.

It’s definitely got the same vibes as the two collections I read by Amanda Lovelace: it’s a little angrier than the princess saves herself in this one and not quite at the anger level of the witch doesn’t burn in this one. I think Amanda Lovelace’s poetry is more poetic than this, which is mostly just sentences with line breaks.

I’m glad I didn’t pay for this.


Have you read Burn the Fairy Tales
Let’s talk in the comments!


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Book review: Sticky Notes by Indy Yelich

Sticky Notes by Indy Yelich
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: Amazon • Goodreads
Publication Date: February 14, 2018
Source: Daniel sent this to me because he is the actual best.
‘sticky notes’ is the first book of poetry by emerging poet, indy yelich, who was born to a poet mother and is the sister of pop artist, Lorde. She currently lives independently as a 19 year old in New York City. This debut collection chronicles her experiences with love, travel, and self-discovery in a shifting physical and emotional geography.

If you’ve been following my blog and reading my tags and Weekly Updates, you probably won’t be surprised to hear that I’m a Lorde fan. I listen to her music pretty incessantly, but I didn’t actually know that much about her or her family. I knew that she had a sister, but I honestly never really paid that much attention. Well, now I’ve read Indy’s first poetry collection and I. Am. Conflicted.

Like, okay, there’s one poem. It’s called the kitchen bench and I’m not sure why I relate to it so much, but I do.

[…]

the clock is a prison sentence
all i have left are the memories
that haunt me in my shower

crosslegged
eating cereal

wondering why it tastes
so off

Why does this take me right back to a very specific time in my life? It’s almost creepy how easily it transported me back to approximately 2010 when I was in my first studio apartment and very sad about everything in general.

There are also a couple lines in a poem called hero that I particularly enjoyed:

i think you were placed in the wrong era
because you don’t go outside and you eat books
like sandwiches

Literally me, okay? LITERALLY ME.

But then there are some other poems, or should I say “poems,” that are just sentences with line breaks. One example is central park:

i just want to
sit in the park
a little while longer

That’s it. That’s the poem. I mean, accurate statement, I have literally never been in Central Park without thinking, “oh hey, wouldn’t it be nice to stay here a little bit longer” but here’s a “poem” from me:

sentences
with line breaks
aren’t poetry 🙄

I actually had a lot of thoughts about a lot of poems in this collection, but I think that this will suffice for the review. I mean, I probably shouldn’t copy down every poem in the collection and give my reactions to it. That might be considered, oh, I don’t know, a violation of the copyright or something.

In short:

  • I went into this without any real expectations and walked away feeling pretty conflicted.
  • IT’S NOT TERRIBLE by any means, but it’s also not really amazing.
  • Some of the poems take me right back to how I felt when I was Indy’s age! That’s great and shows a lot of talent!
  • Other poems are just not relatable at all — even as a grown adult working a full-time job, I can’t even come close to affording a studio apartment next to Washington Square.
  • I’m curious about what Indy will write next.

Have you read Sticky Notes? Do you follow Indy on social media?
Let’s talk in the comments!


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Mini-reviews: The Princess Saves Herself In This One & The Witch Doesn’t Burn In This One by Amanda Lovelace

The Princess Saves Herself In This One by Amanda Lovelace
Series: Women Are Some Kind of Magic #1
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: AmazonTBDGoodreads
Publication Date: August 23, 2016
Source: Borrowed

“Ah, life- the thing that happens to us while we’re off somewhere else blowing on dandelions & wishing ourselves into the pages of our favorite fairy tales.”

A poetry collection divided into four different parts: the princess, the damsel, the queen, & you. the princess, the damsel, & the queen piece together the life of the author in three stages, while you serves as a note to the reader & all of humankind. Explores life & all of its love, loss, grief, healing, empowerment, & inspirations.

I liked this collection so much more than I expected to! One of the criticisms I had of the last collection of poetry I read (which was written in a similar style) was that it didn’t stab me in the heart. It didn’t really make me feel anything. This collection definitely stabbed me in the heart, but it also made me really happy.

You shine brighter than all the starlight there has ever been or ever will be.


The Witch Doesn’t Burn In This One by Amanda Lovelace
Series: Women Are Some Kind of Magic #2
Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Links: AmazonTBDGoodreads
Publication Date: March 6, 2018
Source: Borrowed

2016 Goodreads Choice Award-winning poet Amanda Lovelace returns in the witch doesn’t burn in this one — the bold second book in her “women are some kind of magic” series.

The witch: supernaturally powerful, inscrutably independent, and now—indestructible. These moving, relatable poems encourage resilience and embolden women to take control of their own stories. Enemies try to judge, oppress, and marginalize her, but the witch doesn’t burn in this one.

Unpopular opinion: I did not like this collection at all. The Princess felt real and natural and honest, but The Witch was just exhausting. There’s so much anger, so much hate, so many generalizations that I was just sad and tired when I finished it. I 100% consider myself a feminist and I don’t think that this collection represents my values at all.

Wanting to burn men instead of women at the stake isn’t feminism, and it just fuels the anti-feminist fires that are, quite honestly, already strong enough.


Have you read either of these books? Are you planning to?
Let’s talk in the comments!


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Book review: The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur

The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: AmazonTBDGoodreads
Publication Date: October 3, 2017
Source: Borrowed

From Rupi Kaur, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of milk and honey, comes her long-awaited second collection of poetry. A vibrant and transcendent journey about growth and healing. Ancestry and honoring one’s roots. Expatriation and rising up to find a home within yourself.

Divided into five chapters and illustrated by Kaur, the sun and her flowers is a journey of wilting, falling, rooting, rising, and blooming. A celebration of love in all its forms.

this is the recipe of life
said my mother
as she held me in her arms as i wept
think of those flowers you plant
in the garden each year
they will teach you
that people too
must wilt
fall
root
rise
in order to bloom

Did you know that I had this book on hold at my library for FOUR MONTHS before they emailed me and told me that hoopla is a thing? There’s no wait for books on hoopla, so thanks, guys. Anyway, this collection of poetry is okay, but I think I preferred Milk and Honey. This felt really similar to it and while there were some poems that really stabbed at my heart, the majority just… didn’t.

I think my favorite was the underrated heartache because let me tell you, a thing no one tells you when you move halfway across the country is that even the best friendships are super difficult to maintain. I only talk to one of my friends from Wisconsin with any regularity anymore and it breaks my heart.

Anyway, it’s fine, I checked off a box on my reading challenge and I’m ready to move on.

Goodreads summer reading challenge: the colors of summer


Have you read The Sun and Her Flowers? Do you like this style of poetry?
Let’s talk in the comments!


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Book review: Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Goodreads ⭐ Amazon ⭐

Brown Girl Dreaming is one of those books that’s been on and off my TBR for years.  I really, really tried to read it for last year’s reading challenge and it had an endless list of holds at my library.  It fell off my radar for a bit, but then popped back up with my current reading challenge.

I’m kind of disappointed in myself for not reading this sooner.

Honestly, I’m not the biggest fan of poetry or novels written in verse.  And, though I try my best to expand my horizons and read memoirs about interesting women, they so frequently fall short of my expectations.  Having just slogged my way through a pretty awful Pulitzer winner, my expectations for this Newbery winner were low.  Possibly non-existent, really.

But it was good.

Really good, in fact.

As I flew through the first fifty pages or so, all I could think was that the writing is absolutely beautiful.  I felt transported to Ohio, to South Carolina, to New York.  I was immersed in the time period.  In the current events.  In the political climate and Jacqueline’s home life.  As the book continued, I felt like I was growing up with her.

I never wanted to put this book down.  I never felt like I was reading a middle-grade book.  I can’t wait to explore this author’s other books.

Final rating: ★★★★☆

#mmdreading: a Newbery award winner or honor book