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What: the witch doesn’t burn in this one by Amanda Lovelace

Who: Andrews McMeel Publishing

When: March 6th 2018

How: A copy of this novel was provided by Andrews McMeel Publishing for review via NetGalley.

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.

I’d seen almost endlessly positive things about Lovelace’s first poetry collection – the princess saves herself in this one – that when I saw that the witch doesn’t burn in this one was Read Now on Net Galley, I jumped at the chance to download it and review it. I then went on to read princess before I read this one, since they are a part of a series together. Unfortunately, princess didn’t really hit the mark for me, and the witch doesn’t burn in this one wasn’t any better.

the witch doesn’t burn in this one is pegged as a feminist poetry collection. And I suppose that is true, in a way. However, for me, feminism is intersectional. Feminism is not just about women. There were one or two poems in the witch doesn’t burn in this one that highlighted the need to support and stand by women who aren’t white, able-bodied, neurotypical, and allocishet. But these didn’t really encompass the importance of intersectional feminism that includes people who aren’t just women.

I know for some people feminism is about women, but the fact that the witch doesn’t burn in this one was all about women and only about women, and that’s how feminism was presented… it just didn’t sit perfectly well with me. And that’s entirely a personal view and reaction, but I think poetry is more personal than any other type of written word so that personal reaction is the most important one. So while I read the poems in the witch doesn’t burn in this one and enjoyed them for what they did represent in their own way, the constant “women are good and men are evil” theme of the entire collection was a bit of a miss for me.

Also, I think Lovelace’s brand of poetry doesn’t really vibe with me. It is easily understandable, and there were a few pretty metaphors, but the emotional “punch” so to say was missing. Some of the themes and metaphors were really overused in the collection and sometimes I was just like “ugh okay fire fire bad boys whatever” which I don’t think was the intended effect.

Even though my thoughts on the witch doesn’t burn in this one haven’t been overall positive, I did enjoy reading the poems. There were some that resonated with me, and I think quite a few important themes were touched on. I think it’s upon examining my feelings on the collection in hindsight that my rating and enjoyment has gone down.

All in all, the witch doesn’t burn in this one was a mixed bag for me. When I read it I enjoyed it somewhat (three stars worth) even though I knew why I wasn’t loving it. Upon self-evaluating my thoughts on the collection to write this review I realised that overall it just wasn’t for me. The presentation of feminism and the overarching theme just missed the mark for me as a person and poetry reader.

© 2018, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity. All rights reserved.

trigger warning

Given by the book: child abuse, intimate partner abuse, sexual assault, eating disorders, trauma, death, murder, violence, fire, menstruation, transphobia

Additional: reference to drink spiking, incest, rape themes (explicit), physical abuse, domestic violence, use of ableist language

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Posted on: March 16, 2018 • By: Chiara

8 Responses to Review: the witch doesn’t burn in this one by Amanda Lovelace

  1. Lindsi says:

    I hate this one didn’t work for you! I feel like books with feminist themes can be done really well, or I struggle to follow their reasoning. It’s a balance!

    Do You Dog-ear?

    • Chiara says:

      Me too! It was a big disappointment that I didn’t love it. And yeah, I think the balance of the topic is really important and I didn’t feel like there was much of that here, unfortunately.

  2. Aww, sorry to hear that this was not as enjoyable as you thought it would be Chiara. I wholeheartedly agree with you re. feminism though. I believe the movements gets a lot of bad rap for the exact reason you pointed out above — that it focuses to much on women (which is not a bad thing!), but in order for feminism to work, we need to think about it in a more inclusive way. Merely saying men are bad means we’re never going to fix the problem, because this is a problem in itself.

    I’m not a huge fan of poetry in the first place, so wasn’t going to pick up this book. Thanks for your honest review as always! x

    • Chiara says:

      Me too, Joy :( And I totally agree with what you said, which is really the reason why this one didn’t click with me at all.

      No problem! Thanks for stopping by <3

  3. shooting says:

    Aw, I’m sorry you didn’t really care for either of her collections. I really like poetry that’s coming out today that is a bit easier to understand, but I can see how that would be both good and bad depending on the topic. It can really push people away, you know? I haven’t read this one yet – only Princess, which I did enjoy, but some were definitely more interesting/better than others.


    • Chiara says:

      Me too! I never want to be unhappy with a read, especially when it comes to poetry. I do like the simpler collections that are coming out but you’re right, the simplicity can harm the message sometimes. I hope you enjoy this one more than I did, Lauren!

  4. Kelly says:

    That’s so disappointing Chiara, especially considering the success of her debut novel and how well received it was by readers. Feminism as a whole should be the fight for equality for all women regardless of race, sexual orientation or reproductive organs and I’m sad to see that this excludes in particular transwomen. White feminism often seems to exclude the most vulnerable women in our communities doesn’t it. At the risk of sounding too critical, I’ve heard that Tumblr is a wonderful source of poetry as well. Sorry you couldn’t have enjoyed this more darling, but incredible review. Really enjoyed it <3 <3

    • Chiara says:

      Yes, I wasn’t a huge fan of this one, or the collection that came before it. But poetry is very personal so maybe it just didn’t click with me.

      The author was inclusive of trans women! There were two references to inclusive feminism in that regard. It was more the take on feminism as a whole that left me dissatisfied as I think it’s more than just about moen vs men, and this collection felt like it was very much just about that.

      Thank you, lovely! <3

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