to make monsters out of girls (the things that h(a)unt #1)
Author: amanda lovelace
this is how I bury you
Amanda Lovelace comes back with this epic first book in a duology answering the question, and contemplating it: What happens when the man of your dreams turns out to be a nightmare with sharp teeth?”.
Poetry takes a turn into the dark and scary. Boundaries are non-existent as Lovelace’s memory of an abusive relationship is explored from unimaginable angles.
The eternal question that she also faces, that we all face: Can you heal once you’ve been marked by a monster, or will the sun always sting?
Lovelace is always amazing when it comes to being vulnerable. She lets out ever part of her for the world with her modern and inventive poetic style. It’s what I love about her books. She takes the average box and not only jumps outside of it, but rips it to shreds, destroying the expected shape and stanza of prose poetry.
She segmented her book into parts, that for me, were curious.
pt. 1 – monster-boy
pt. 2 – monster-girl
pt. 3 – sun-heart
What was really awesome about this novel was also something I couldn’t fully agree upon. Lovelace approaches the idea of comparing abusive men to monsters. Throughout time (and my own personal studies) monsters are debatable. If asked, the common ones are vampires, werewolves, zombies, Frankenstein, Creature of the Black Lagoon, and the list goes on. But a lot of these have been divulged upon that they’re not so much monsters as they are just creatures turned dark by humans, which I agree with. They’re not evil 100% of the time just like people. So, as I read this book, man became its own terrifying monster over being like the ones we know through history. But for me, that’s also because an abusive man is scarier than any mythological, literary, film monster ever could be.
There’s artwork! Having read the princess doesn’t die in this one, I was excited to see artwork right alongside Lovelace’s work. It was chilling and perfectly paired to show the horror she was expressing through her words. It’s like getting hit by a million pinpricks.
Relatable on a very real level for anyone who’s been through abuse or knows somebody who has. Not just across the U.S., but the entire planet, women and men have grown stronger and braver in coming out about abuse they’ve suffered through. It’s become scary at how often it really happens and the fear it instills in people, keeping them from being able to speak out. This book was incredibly brave and vicious. It’s good to be vicious. To fight back and prove that you come back stronger from something that could destroy you because you destroy it instead. Triggers are very real, and I thank Lovelace for putting that warning in there before the beginning.
While I didn’t enjoy this book as I have her other one, it still approaches a major subject from an incredibly personal position, a firsthand one. The bravery of that alone is applauded. One thing I have to say is that you may not get a full feeling for what Lovelace expresses in this book if you haven’t experienced this pain before or seen it firsthand. It won’t make for a terrible read if you’ve never experienced things like this, but it’s an outside perspective versus and inside one.
Here are a few poems that I really enjoyed and that really ripped into me:
you had years on me & I wanted to drag my teeth across the surface of every one of them. -red & the wolf (p. 20)
I found this to be one of the most interesting ones with how Lovelace brings up the Grimm’s Little Red Riding Hood in which the wolf is actually a monster. Like I said, I don’t believe all creatures are monstrous, but this one definitely is. The wolf of the tale is known for not only being stalkerish, manipulative, and murderous of a young girl, but rapey, too. This shed light on the question of age, and at what point it is okay to be with someone older or younger than you.
It reminds me of the latest subject flitting across the internet, too: grooming. If you don’t know what it is, it’s when an adult builds a relationship, which is usually private/secret, with a young child/teen. While it puts on the front of friendship and/or guidance, behind the scenes it is boyfriend/girlfriend and deemed a type of sexual abuse. There have been many cases made across the decades.
Thankfully, at the end of the tale, Red splits the wolf open, making him regret coming onto her.
on the days you decided you were still in this we me, ancient trees leaned into my touch; will-o’-the-wisps swarmed around me; butterflies made nests in my hair; falling stars tangled in my eyelashes; nectar oozed from my fingertips; & even oceans feared the multitudes in me. -moon made up of honey (p. 41)
The imagery of this one has to be my favorite. So strong and powerful. Sweet. Fantastical.
he may have gone, but I’m still finding his fingerprints on every surface of me. -intruder (p. 66)
This one can be interpreted in many ways. Positive and negative. Horrifying or straight up heartbreak. Whether she is talking about a woman whose boyfriend, the love of her life, has broken up with her, leaving only memories and heartbreak behind, or the survival of sexual assault, trying to scrub away the feeling of it and never feeling clean enough, never feeling like the assaulter let go, is still a mystery to me. This one can be divided among many situations and emotions, I feel.
More to come soon…
P.S. Song today? Never Be Like You by Flume feat. Kai.
Thoughts? Tell me in the comments below.