the witch doesn’t burn in this one – book review

The second edition to the “women are some kind of magic” series by Amanda Lovelace, The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One, is a heavy feminist collection talking about abuse, eating disorders, sexual assualt, and alot of fire. Amanda has the book split into four separate parts: the trial, the burning, the firestorm, and the ashes.

I’ve read Amanda Lovelace’s first book, The Princess Saves Herself in This One, and I was honestly, very disappointed. But I wanted to give her new work a go and see if I would enjoy it. I, again, was disappointed.

Let’s start with the pros.

Amanda has kindly put a trigger warning at the beginning of her book, which I really appreciated, as the book description didn’t really allude to the heavy topics that would be discussed. I also really enjoyed having a witch theme throughout. As a witch myself, it was interesting to read someone elses take with the practice in poetry, and I think Amanda did well with the theme.

The empowerment. Hands down, the empowerment in this book, five out of five stars.

The continuous theme of women being their own magic, not needing to exist just for men and the male gaze, reclaiming words and positive attitudes- absolutely perfect.

Another thing I really loved was the pieces on body positivity and self-love. Even though this quoted piece is very simple and short, I think it conveys a lovely and important message. She’s learning to embrace herself day by day. Amanda has many other good pieces on self love, one being a reminder than self love doesn’t happen overnight, and sometimes the feeling can dwindle away. But she also reminds us that the love will come back, and that if we don’t have it all right now, we one day will.

Out of all of the pieces in this book, my favorites are her more personal ones. I feel they hold more emotion than her generalized ones, and are done very well. Although her first edition, The Princess Saves Herself in This One, had more personal pieces, it felt lacking, but here you can see the improvements she made.

This quoted piece (it’s quite long) here is, I think, my favorite out of the whole book:

Now, for the cons. There is alot of repetition. And I mean. Alot.

Repetition isn’t bad, don’t get me wrong, but it is when it’s used in a kind of annoying way. I read this book, I didn’t listen to it being read to me, and I’m more than glad I didn’t. Take a look at this:

This one sentence goes on, and I kid you not, for four pages. Four! Imagine listening to an audio book and having to sit through the same sentence being read over and over again. I’d think the thing was broken.

I have to admit, I used this style for a piece in my book. I like the style, I think it adds a bit of character to the page. But I only used one page, not four. This is the kind of repetition that’s useless and annoying, and serves no other purpose to the book but to make it longer. And this isn’t the only time Amanda has used repetition in this way.

She repeats this question over the span of a page and a half, with no other follow up. I find it so very frustrating. She could have written something better, and yet settled on another useless repeated question.

Another con, that irks me alot, is her style. I feel that stanza breaks and line breaks can be just that, breaks. But I also feel that they can play a part in the rhythm and feel of the poem. But in TWDBITO, the breaks make the book lose style points. Amanda seems to just hit enter wherever she deems it convenient and sometimes it messes with the flow of her pieces. I’m sure you’ve seen the parodies where people write reviews like the author does their poems?

Just because

you

put enter

at the end of

every

line

doesn’t make

you a

poet.

Something like that? All those unnecessary breaks could be shortened and save so much space on the page, rather than wasting it.

I also don’t understand what she was going for in the above quote? Why not put the comma and period instead of writing it out? It doesn’t add anything special to the piece, and I, personally, don’t see anything aesthetically pleasing about it.

The final con I have for Amanda’s book, is its lack of figurative language. In some pieces, a picture is very well painted. But in others, there really isn’t one? I felt I was often told rather than shown. I think poetry is best represented with it’s artistic language. Add in some similes, some metaphors, some fun alliteration. Amanda did have a few onomatopoeias, and that’s great! But give me more!

I firmly believe Amanda Lovelace has so much potential and I hope to one day be able to pick up a book of hers and really love it. Unfortunately, The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One, wasn’t that book.

Final rating? A generous three stars.

Published by Robin

Poetry author from Pennsylvania

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