Reading Level: Young Adult
Size: 128 pages
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Release Date: September 23, 2014
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: eGalley from NetGalley.com
Rating: 2.5/5 stars
I got a copy of this to review through NetGalley. I was drawn by the premise of poems merged with fairy tale retellings, since I love both. It was okay, but in the end it just felt like something was missing here…the imagery just wasn’t there and the poems focused on the same theme over and over.
This was a very short collection of poems that talk mostly about teenage life and girls and the expectation society has of them. Some of this is related to fairy tales that have been given a modern twist.
There is a lot of focus on how girls look externally (requirements of beauty, anorexia, etc) and how this can hide and cause some serious problems. These problems aren’t discussed subtly or with some sort of parallel imagery to fairy tales like I had hoped. They are pretty in your face…I like a little bit more subtlety and beauty in my poetry.
While the book does deliver a commentary of female position in society, I thought the poetry was a bit immature sounding. The imagery wasn’t very good and the poetry didn’t flow all that well The whole collection ended up being more “poetry light for the teen feminist” than a revolutionary social commentary. It didn’t really shine as fairy tale retellings either.
There are some very eerie photographs throughout (I did not see all of these because they were not all included in the ARC I received). I actually enjoyed these gothically creepy photographs more than the poetry. For me those and the afterward were the best parts of the book.
The afterward was actually a lot more interesting than the poems themselves. Hepperman goes into a discussion on how fairy tales reflected the treatment of women in the societies that the fairy tales come from. She says fairy tales were women’s way of having a say and telling about the torments they endured when they really didn’t have a way to speak out. She also discusses how there is a fine line between fairy tales and what people actually have endured.
Overall the poetry here was a bit disappointing. That being said I really enjoyed the photography throughout and I also really like reading the Afterward. This was a very quick read of feminist fairy tale poetry. Unfortunately the poetry is lacking some in depth, creativity and doesn’t flow all that well. This was more of a light fairy tale feminist read aimed at the teenage reader. I was not overly impressed.