the princess saves herself in this one was undoubtedly born in the wake of the success of milk & honey by Rupi Kaur. It draws on her work in terms of style, content and even cover art. On reading some reviews of this collection, it’s clear that it’s a little like marmite. People seem to either love or hate it. As with most things in life (sigh), I am on the fence about it. I think how you feel about this collection of poetry will ultimately be decided by your personal life experiences. If the content doesn’t resonate with you, then the style will undoubtedly be a constant annoyance throughout. On the other hand, if you find yourself relating to Amanda Lovelace’s words and experiences, you’ll feel a sense of solidarity and quickly fall in love with her writing.
What I love most about this poetry collection is the progression from beginning to end. The front cover plainly states: the princess saves herself in this one. Flip it over and you’ll see the following: the story of a princess turned damsel turned queen. You see a story building from beginning to end and you feel yourself rising up and becoming a “queen” with the poet. Her writing style is very simple, making this collection accessible to all women. Some poems are given titles as simple as “fuck rape culture” and “”no” is short for “fuck off”” and I liked her raw and simple use of language, which still packs a punch. She doesn’t try to do anything fancy with the words, it’s just pure, simple human emotion pouring out onto the page.
That said, some poems were a little too clichéd for my liking; but I suppose in this kind of work, which has been dubbed “tumblr-esque”, you have to expect that. I mostly found this to be the case with the poems that dealt with love and romance, but not at all in those that dealt with complicated family relations. These are the passages that really hit you in the gut and bring you into Amanda Lovelace’s world.
As I said above, this book evidently draws its inspiration from Rupi Kaur’s work. However, there is one very large difference. It seems to me that the target audience of this book is considerably younger than that of Rupi Kaur. I got the impression that the person writing this is fairly young, but had clearly suffered a great deal. This collection deals with loss, family, suicide, love, heartbreak, abuse and more. Of course, a poet writes from his or her own experiences and it’s quite clear from the numerous references to other authors that Amanda Lovelace is a massive bookworm. As such, I think lost bookworms in their early-twenties will enjoy the princess saves herself in this one the most. My favourite has to be the intro:
for the boy who lived.
thank you for inspiring me to be
the girl who survived.
you may have a lightning bolt
to show for it,
but my body is a
Now let’s get onto style. This is where I think most readers are divided and it decides how people feel about this collection.
I think at least half of these poems would be greatly improved if they had been written with longer phrases. Some line breaks seemed completely arbitrary to me with no rhyme or reason. I found many poems to be so fragmented that it actually disrupted my reading experience and on a couple of occasions I didn’t know where the next line of the poem was. Poetry is a mixture of form and content and whilst the content was mostly spot on here, the form really did let it down in some pieces.
All in all, some sections are very poetic, others a bit style over substance. On balance, the princess saves herself in this one is still well worth a read if you’re interested in exploring modern poetry. It was named Goodreads Poetry Choice Award 2016 so clearly in the end its champions defeated its critics. the princess saves herself in this one is the first book in the women are some kind of magic series. You can expect the second book, the witch doesn’t burn in this one, to be published in 2018.
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