I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Poisoned Apples by Christine Heppermann
Also by this author: Ask Me How I Got Here
Published by HarperCollins on 2014-09-23
Genres: Girls & Women, Juvenile Nonfiction, Poetry, Social Issues
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Every little girl goes through her princess phase, whether she wants to be Snow White or Cinderella, Belle or Ariel. But then we grow up. And life is not a fairy tale.
Christine Heppermann's collection of fifty poems puts the ideals of fairy tales right beside the life of the modern teenage girl. With piercing truths reminiscent of Laurie Halse Anderson and Ellen Hopkins, this is a powerful and provocative book for every young woman. E. Lockhart, author of We Were Liars, calls it "a bloody poetic attack on the beauty myth that's caustic, funny, and heartbreaking."
Cruelties come not just from wicked stepmothers, but also from ourselves. There are expectations, pressures, judgment, and criticism. Self-doubt and self-confidence. But there are also friends, and sisters, and a whole hell of a lot of power there for the taking. In fifty poems, Christine Heppermann confronts society head on. Using fairy tale characters and tropes, Poisoned Apples explores how girls are taught to think about themselves, their bodies, and their friends. The poems range from contemporary retellings to first-person accounts set within the original tales, and from deadly funny to deadly serious. Complemented throughout with black-and-white photographs from up-and-coming artists, this is a stunning and sophisticated book to be treasured, shared, and paged through again and again.
When it comes to Poisoned Apples: Poems For You, My Pretty by Christine Heppermann, I’m not gonna lie, I didn’t entirely “get” it. But that’s not to say this book is without merit. The poems are accessible and well written. The themes run pretty deep and I think a lot of girls can relate to these poems on the beauty myth and dysfunctional relationships and anorexia. I had a bit of a hard time connecting the fairy tale imagery to the verses until the author’s note at the very end and then everything made sense.
Basically what Poisoned Apples: Poems For You, My Pretty is, is a book of poems with fairy tale structures and themes brought into a contemporary sort of understanding. It’s a very feminist sort of book which is awesome. Like, this book talks about sexuality and beauty. Actually, I really liked this one poem that talks about a girl who is getting married and you learn that she has to do all of these things to be beautiful for her prince charming and it’s totally like my beauty routine and it just made me really sad, because of how much value is placed on our looks and our beauty and not what is inside. Huh, what do you know, I did connect deeply with one of these poems.
This is a mixed media book that makes use of photographs for each poem. Again, perhaps I am not all that deep but I thought the photographs were kind of weird. It wasn’t my thing. Although if I had read this at 17, when I was really into poetry and critically interacting with text and you know, totally into fighting the power, I would have loved Poisoned Apples. I think this is a great book for a young adult audience. For me, as an adult whose lost some of her former ferocity, not so much. But, perhaps that is because I am not longer the girl who was completely self-conscious. I mean, let’s be real I am not totally self-confident now, but I am more forgiving of myself. Unfortunately, much of this was over my head, but I totally recommend it to people who are interested in smart books that beg for dissection and discussion.