Amanda Lovelace, the bestselling iaward-winning author of the 'women are some kind of magic' poetry series, presents unlock your storybook heart, the third and final instalment in her feminist poetry series, 'you are your own fairy tale'. this is a collection about being so caught up in the fable that is perfectionism that you miss out on your own life. be honest: when was the last time you stopped to take in the everyday enchantment all around you?
Another beguiling collection
Unlock Your Storybook Heart is another beguiling poetry collection by Amanda Lovelace (aka ladybookmad). It's the third and final instalment in her You Are Your Own Fairy Tale trilogy.
Lovelace states in her introduction that the poems are inspired by a few classic tales, "most notably Beauty and the Beast", but also clearly contain a great deal of autobiographical content.
disenchanted is she by the idea
of living her life the way
she thought it had to be. (-finally, she gets it, p.71)
The poems are reflective, yet simultaneously illuminating, exploring themes including finding one's life purpose in spite of external pressures, body image (in particular the poet's relationship with food and eating), finding love outside the heteronormative mould and her ongoing grief at the loss of her mother, who died prematurely. There is less emphasis on misogyny and male-female relations than in previous collections, although these do occasionally feature, and are as insightful as Lovelace's readers have come to expect. Interspersed between poems written in Lovelace's signature style of free verse are paragraphs of prose, which generally exhibit a more advisory / instructional style.
A greater sense of contentment and self-fulfilment pervades Unlock Your Storybook Heart than some of Lovelace's previous published collections. The neuroses that resonate with so many of her readers are still present, but seem less raw than in several of her earlier publications. The poems that I found particularly appealing were "let me tell you a bittersweet story", "her books say" (p.70), "nothing is so definitive that you need to decide it's doomed" and "no simile can capture the pain". As a fellow cat lover, I also appreciated the two pieces relating to her pets.
Reading Unlock Your Storybook Heart also led me to the discovery of what a "moonbow" is.
I'd recommend Unlock Your Storybook Heart both to existing devotées of contemporary poetry and newcomers to the style. It's a though-provoking, entertaining and moving collection.