Book review: Poisoned Apples, by Christine Heppermann

Heppermann, Christine. Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty. Greenwillow Books, 2014. 110 pages. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-228957-5. Grades 9+. P7Q9

Heppermann Poisoned ApplesThis poetry book takes fairytales on a new twist with the introduction of modern society. Such as Eve being the first anorexic or Prince Charming being anything but after he stops trying to impress your family. Even though some of the story lines are a bit dark, it is refreshing in a way to hear them being tied to the fantasy stories we have all grown up with. The poems are well written and creative while paired with unique black and white photography. Many of the topics discussed might not be suitable for a younger audience.

September 2015 review by Beverly Minard.


Editor’s note: This collection of 50 poems uses imagery from fairy tales, the Bible, and other legends to address issues such as body image, anorexia, sex, social expectations, and misogyny from a teenage feminist stance.  Eating issues are a recurring theme, beginning with a poem about Eve’s obsession with what she ate. The brief, free verse poems are accompanied by black and white photographs, lending the whole a dark, almost Gothic atmosphere.  The author’s afterward is an essay on feminism, including the following quote:

If you find the dividing line between fairy tales and reality, let me know. In my mind, the two run together, even though the intersections aren’t always obvious. The girl sitting quietly in class or waiting for the bus or roaming the mall doesn’t want anyone to know, or doesn’t know how to tell anyone, that she is locked in a tower. Maybe she’s a prisoner of a story she’s heard all her life – that fairest means best, or that bruises prove she is worthy of love.


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