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How to (Un)cage a Girl by Francesca Lia…
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How to (Un)cage a Girl

by Francesca Lia Block

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» See also 4 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
I just don't get it ( )
  TeamDewey | Mar 2, 2014 |
I really wish I had had this book as a teenager, or heck, even a year ago when I was having a lot of body image issues. I think it really addresses that topic well for girls, particularly those of us who really enjoy women's magazines and popular culture and struggle with the images portrayed therein. ( )
  scote23 | Mar 30, 2013 |
This slim volume of Weetzie Bat’s creator Francesca Lia Block’s poetry is a collection of subtle (and not-so-subtle) messages of feminism and what it means to grow up as a woman in this culture. The first section is a year-by-year series on the themes of sexual awakening and the need for independence from parents while still desperately needing parenting. The poems in this section give voice to the struggle to be an adult while still wanting to be taken care of, touching on the illness and death of a parent, body issues and sexuality, and the general goofiness of teens hanging out with their friends. The second section is on media images of women and the unfair expectations put upon girls in their adolescence. This short section is the weakest of the collection, full of references that are timely and relevant but will likely seem dated a few years from now. The third section (which makes up the majority of the book) is where the collection comes together, though. Titled "love poems for girls," they are exactly that, poems of empowerment and strength, of reassurance, of empathy. These are the poems that have the most useful, universal messages of valuing oneself and taking comfort in who you are.

While Block's language isn't always poetic in a flowy, flowery way, and her rhythm is not a strict iambic pentameter (or anything else, for that matter), the rhythm of her words has a lyricism to it that never feels clunky or forced. Her poems do sound like an adult talking to a teen, but never talking down to the teen. Sometimes all a girl needs is to know someone else has actually been there and lived through it.

This slim volume of poetry didn't always light my world on fire, but many of the poems are things I think I would have appreciated reading when I was in high school. ( )
  librarybrandy | Mar 30, 2013 |
Well, that was disappointing.

Came across as a) patronizing b) rather shallow somehow, even the poems about heavier topics. The only one I liked a little was about the FtM person, but that is probably because I know someone in that situation. Certainly not because of the breathtaking writing.

Whereas I might have enjoyed Block's other books if I first read them as a young teen, I'm pretty sure I would have disliked this even then. ( )
  Merinde | Mar 30, 2013 |
This is a collection of poems for young women.

"for women who had been raped
and women who had never been touched
for women who had been devoured limbs eaten
and women who had sucked the blood
of their passive mates
for ladies who at one time or another considered
themselves hideous monsters
and who had at other times blinded their loves
with goddess glory
for smart hungry sad creatures who disguised
themselves as women
and wept in secret because they did not look
like supermodels"

(from l.a. bacchantes p. 39)

The collection is structured into three parts, loosely following the life of a narrator from girlhood to womanhood, and chronicles many painful moments such as death of a parent, eating disorders and struggles with body image, lost chances and secret regrets.

"she was the second person ever to make me poetry
maybe i had it all wrong
maybe i was the one who was supposed to fall
in love with her
and now I can't even remember her name"
(p. 72)

Interwoven throughout this semi-biographical narrative are snatches of fairy tales, magical creatures such as fairies and vampires, and even Shakespearian plays as one poem, miranda is an ode to the character from Shakespeare's The Tempest:

"your father may burn
his books of magic
and abandon the sprite once locked in a tree
but not you miranda
not you
" (p.89)

This will appeal to, and speak to, many young women in a deeply empathetic and positive way. Block's message of loving who you are and feeling comfortable in your own skin is incredibly positive, and the darker and more painful snatches will be cathartic to girls going through similar experiences.

The poetry itself is not brilliant, the structure is a little messy for my tastes and the poems feel unfinished (unpolished?) but overall it's a wonderful message and Block's personal, sympathetic style peppered with magical beings and colourful imagery is well worth a look. ( )
  catfantastic | Mar 13, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061358363, Hardcover)

A celebration of girls and women in a three part poetry collection that is powerful, hopeful, authentic, and universal.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:46 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

A collection of love poems for girls.

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