Hey, writers and readers!
It’s not a good month without an indie novel or two. Today I’ll be reviewing a book of poetry called Not Love by Marlene Woods. Check out the review below and make sure to give your two cents in the comments section if you’ve already read the book, too!
Rating: 4 stars
Since this this a book of poetry, there isn’t much of a synopsis. However, you’ll find sixty one-page poems all about love, or not love as it were.
Woods tells us on her website that the collection is about three separate instances where she was in love with someone else. At 13 she fell in love with a classmate, at 15 she was in love with a neighbor, and at 19 she fell in love with a college classmate. Lots of drama and heartache! So this collection goes through these circumstances and how she felt when each time, her crush was interested in someone else.
What I Enjoyed:
Perhaps before I get into that, I could share one of my favorite poems from the book:
Today I discovered, / I love me more than you / for I can’t live without me, / but I can survive without you.
Today I concluded, / I need me more than you / for without me I die, / and without you I’m still alive.
As you can see, each poem is super short, concise, and to the point. Throughout the book, there’s a mix of poems that describe feeling hurt that the person didn’t want her back, or she’s still getting over “what could’ve been.” I liked “Conclusion” because it seemed to stick out to me—it showed a bit of strength that I think most people experience when they know they’re finally no longer in love, or they’re over a relationship.
But overall, these poems were easy to read, easy to enjoy, and a fun reminder (or maybe not-so-fun) reminder of what it was like to be a younger kid and wanting to be in love but being pushed away. That is Wood’s strength: even though she is now a mother of her own children, she easily taps into this voice of being a pre-teen or teen. It sounds like something any of us would’ve written if we had some feelings to express in high school.
What I Didn’t Enjoy:
My main drawback was likely the lack of extra insight that I wanted to see with these poems. I didn’t know the book contained poems for three separate people; there wasn’t any language to help us figure out which boy she’s speaking to or how old she is. I think many of the poems were missing out on those images and details so we could sit deeper in these poems. I’m not sure if Woods wanted to tap into the universal feelings we all have about wanting to love someone who doesn’t love us back or not, but you don’t get the detail about the three crushes within the novel itself; you have to find it on her website.
So overall, I think she could’ve gone a bit deeper with some, if not most, of the poems. I know I’m not much of a poet myself (I sure tried to write some in middle school), but I know a major part of writing a poem is to fit a lot of emotion into a stanza as possible.
My Final Thoughts
This book of poetry is a breezy read if that’s your thing. You can read through all of them in under an hour! The poems are also appropriate for young readers as well as adults. Woods keeps the language clean for all kinds of poetry lovers.
I hope I shared enough about Not Love to still pique your curiosity without giving too much away. If you’d like to learn more about Marlene Woods and her work, you can catch up with her via social media:
Do you regularly read poetry? What’s your go-to favorite collection of poems? Share with me in the comments! Don’t forget you can see all of my other book reviews by checking our the Book Reviews tab.