She Must Be Mad by Charly Cox – review

Published by HQ Stories

Publication date – 12 July 2018

Source – review copy

She Must be Mad explores coming-of-age: the pain and beauty of love, the relief and the agony of turning from girl to woman, the isolation of an untethered mind and the power and subjugation of the body.

Charly captures the formative experiences of today’s young women from the poignant to the prosaic in writing that is at once witty, wry and heartfelt. Wayward nights out that don’t go as planned; the righteous anger at those men with no talent or skill or smarts who occupy the most powerful positions in the world; the strange banality of madness and, of course, the hurt and indecision of unrequited love.

For every woman surviving and thriving in today’s world, for every girl who feels too much; this is a call for communion, and you are not alone.

It’s always hard to review poetry because what each reader takes from it is a personal viewpoint. Poetry can seen more intimate than prose in a way, \s it allows the reader to see an aspect of the poet in a particular light. She Must Be Mad is indeed a very intimate and personal collection of poems. With each poem Charly sets down words to paint a picture of how she feels about her body, her mind and being her.

There are poems dealing with the issues of relationships, body images and learning to love yourself. The underlying sense I got from reading this is of someone who was at times deeply unhappy, who was trying to make sense of the world. As the book progresses the tone of the poems changes, to ones that indicate more self-acceptance and awareness that the outside world has less control on what is and is not correct.

This may be highly condescending of me but I got the impression that writing this collection was cathartic. The poems grow lighter in tone, become more jocular, more embracing as we reach the final pages.

This is only a small collection, at 120 pages it is something to easily dip in and out of or read in a lunch hour. A thought-provoking, at times sad, at times amusing collection.

This was book 11 in my 20 Books of Summer Challenge.

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