A celebration of girls and women in a three part poetry collection that is powerful, hopeful, authentic, and universal.
In what reads like confessional verse, Block (Weetzie Bat) explores her trademark themes (like not feeling pretty "in [a] city of movie-star beauties") and more individual concerns (such as the nameless speaker's father's cancer diagnosis and her divorce). As Block's admirers expect, she expertly blends reality and fantasy: she references L.A. locations and real-life celebrities, and she also sprinkles in mystical creatures, such as a vampire who convinces two eager girls that his life "might look fun, but actually it kind of sucks" and a young woman born with a fish's tail. Mostly, though, these are women's stories: the author recounts the transformation from teen to mother, and shares others' stories, real and imagined. Block names the pressures that girls face growing up and, particularly in a section called "love poems for girls," imparts advice: "expectations are for what you yourself create." Fans of Block's work are best positioned to appreciate her credos; they will be awed by Block's consistently fertile imagination and her honesty in illuminating the dark moments of girls' and women's lives. Ages 14-up. (Sept.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Gr 9 Up
These poems traverse the steep climb from girlhood to womanhood while unearthing the hard truths hidden within this journey. Divided into three parts-"years at the asylum," "in the hair of the toxic blonde," and "love poems for girls"-the collection touches on anorexia, self-love and loathing, parental relationships, superficiality, losing one's virginity, rape, and love and loss. Block celebrates womanhood, but not in a bubblegum, girl-power way. Plathian symbols abound, from pervasive father issues to Nazi comparisons to insane asylums, real and imagined. The poems feel simultaneously autobiographical and universal. While the death of the narrator's father in "a myth of love for girls" colors her search for a partner, the universal struggle of women to escape or find their father's image in future relationships is aptly captured. The final selections cross into the territory of life lessons learned well beyond the teen experience and perhaps ring too much like motherly advice, but the raw authenticity of the narrator's voice throughout overshadows any later departure. Teenage girls, especially sophisticated, angst-filled poetry readers, will devour this insightful and powerful collection.-Jill Heritage Maza, Greenwich High School, CT
- HarperCollins Publishers
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.10(w) x 7.20(h) x 0.90(d)
- Age Range:
- 14 - 17 Years
Read an Excerpt
How to (Un)cage a Girl
thirteen: the little oven
i thought my teacher was a nazi
with hair slicked to the side
short and germanic
he lectured about hitler
in his voice
boys with greasy scalps
drew cartoons of me
with a witch's nose
my body was so thin
i had chopped off
my pretty brown hair
my skin charred and blistered
red bumps broke out
there was blood between my legs
is this junior high school?
or somewhere worse?
Meet the Author
Francesca Lia Block, winner of the prestigious Margaret A. Edwards Award, is the author of many acclaimed and bestselling books, including Weetzie Bat; the book collections Dangerous Angels: The Weetzie Bat Books and Roses and Bones: Myths, Tales, and Secrets; the illustrated novella House of Dolls; the vampire romance novel Pretty Dead; and the gothic werewolf novel The Frenzy. Her work is published around the world.
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HOW TO (UN)CAGE A GIRL is a short collection of poetry for and about girls. Told in three parts, these poems deal with many facets of life that women must deal with, from being a teen to becoming an adult. This is a book about life: the ups and downs, the pressure, the joys, the pain. This tiny book includes it all.
I enjoyed the book very much, and found the modern approach to poetry to be interesting and refreshing. It was a bit hard to understand at parts, but definitely enjoyable overall.
One of my favorite entries in this collection was one titled Media Queenz, which addresses all the singers and actresses that girls tend to idolize. I think the following line from this poem explains it best:
"where were our pradas? our pouts?
our captivating glances?
only later we would grow up
and realize that these women were just women"
This is a perfect novel for any girl who ever felt unworthy or like they didn't fit in. We are all our own people, and this book celebrates that.
With the holidays approaching, this small book would make a great stocking stuffer, as well!
Nice reviee i got a really good picture out of ur review. Now i know what the book is about without having to by ut thx a lot!!!