Book Review: Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty – Christine Heppermann


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Release Date: September 23rd 2014
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Pages: 114.

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A beautiful book of poetry about the life of the modern teenage girl.

In this book Christine Heppermann explores the struggles that the modern teenage girl goes through. She casts everyday girls alongside heroic fairytale characters in these fifty very different poems.

I’m going to say from the outset that I know very little about poetry. There is something about it that has never particularly appealed to me, but I found this book of feminist poetry very quirky and different. I was drawn to this book partly because I thought it was going to be retellings of fairy tale stories, but instead I got something much better. Hepperman really gets to grips with a variety of issues, from anorexia to abuse. It also details the length and effort women put in in order to look what society deems as beautiful. This one I found particularly fascinating:

Sleeping Beauty’s Wedding Day:

“After the kiss and the trip to the castle comes the
showering, shaving, shampooing, conditioning, detangling, trimming,
moussing, blow-drying, brushing, curling, de-frizzing, extending, texturizing,
waxing, exfoliating, moisturizing, tanning, medicating, plucking, concealing, smoothing,
bronzing, lash lengthening, plumping, polishing, glossing, deodorizing, perfuming,
reducing, cinching, controlling, padding, accessorizing, visualizing, meditating,
powdering, primping, luminizing, correcting, re-curling, re-glossing, and spraying.
No wonder that hundred-year nap
just doesn’t seem long enough.”

They are sometimes blunt, sometimes subtle, but all address the harsh reality of today’s society. If that wasn’t enough to peak your interest there’s also some really beautiful images throughout the novel that add another layer to the books overall package. I think it’s the sort of book you can return to again and again, and each time you might notice something different or look at one of the poems in a new light.

I think it’s very rare to see a young adult poetry book, and I think that’s another reason why I was drawn to the book. There are some parts of the poems that went beyond me, but I think if I was to read them a second time I might find a deeper meaning – as I said I’m not really a poetry person. That being said I really enjoyed it, it was an interesting read and it’s a pretty short book so you can read it in one sitting.

Hepperman really takes the bull by the horns and questions what it is to be a woman and addressing how women are affected by today’s media. It’s a very powerful book, and it’s one I’d recommend. It’s bold, it’s beautiful and it sticks with you. Something not to be missed.

Looking for something similar? Try: Kiss of Broken Glass or The Red Pencil. 

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