Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Centers the White Person’s Experience: The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One by Amanda Lovelace

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I received this book for free from Andrew McNeel Publishing in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Centers the White Person’s Experience: The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One by Amanda LovelaceThe Witch Doesn't Burn in This One by Amanda Lovelace
Published by Andrew McNeel Publishing on March 6th, 2018
Genres: Verse
Source: Andrew McNeel Publishing
Buy on Amazon

The witch: supernaturally powerful, inscrutably independent, and now—indestructible. These moving, relatable poems encourage resilience and embolden women to take control of their own stories. Enemies try to judge, oppress, and marginalize her, but the witch doesn’t burn in this one.

Here is my thing with this short collection of poems. It’s good. It’s really good. It is also extremely creative and Lovelace’s talent really shines through with the poems. The problem I had and why I don’t actually know what to rate the collection of poems is that it also felt like it was very much the narrative of a white, cishet person.

Amanda Lovelace is a white woman which explains this and I wouldn’t ask her to write from a POC perspective when she really really REALLY cannot claim those experiences. EDIT: I was informed that Amanda Lovelace is demigirl, demisexual, and demiromantic and I wrongly assumed her identity for which I apologize. She does try to not forget her non white cishet counterparts within her poems, which is appreciated but that doesn’t change the fact that the entire time I was reading the poems, I was painfully aware of my identity is a woman of color and how different my experiences are from hers.

I ~am~ a cis woman so do take what I say with a grain of salt (and call me out if I say something out of line), but I really felt like there were ways she could have also made the narrative more inclusionary of non-binary folk. There are a lot of she/her pronouns used which, to me, entirely disregards the experiences of people who were assigned female at birth and more feminine presenting individuals.

The experiences she writes about will be so painfully true not just for white, cishet women. There are so many people who irrelevant of gender, sexual and racial identity ~will~ experience the things talked about because the world fucking SUCKS.

I just wished Lovelace had done more to open the stories to a slightly wider range of people.

As a woman of color, every second I am not at home, I will be afraid of patriarchal figures not just because I am a woman who has been hurt by the patriarchy but because I am a non-white woman who has inherited generations of hurt because of colonization.

So, should you read The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One? That will be your call to make and not mine but if you aren’t a white cis-het individual, it might help to know that a lot of the language centers the experience of a very certain identity. I don’t believe that means you won’t be able to relate to anything within these poems. They are emotionally potent and also really empowering at times but like me, you might be painfully aware of how your experiences just don’t line up the exact same way.


2.5 Hot Espressos

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Rashika has been tired since 2013. There are very few things that spark joy for her besides a nice cup of tea, warm, baked goods, good books and good TV shows. She is here to pile onto your giant TBRs and to-watch lists. Offer her a cookie and she might be nice to you.

3 Responses to “Centers the White Person’s Experience: The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One by Amanda Lovelace”

  1. Madalyn @ Novel Ink

    I completely agree with you on this one. It felt like Lovelace TRIED to acknowledge identities other than her own, but those efforts kinda felt… halfhearted? I especially was uncomfortable with the focus on the cis female experience. (Acknowledging that I am a white, cisgender woman.) Excellent review! Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this!

  2. Jordan

    Thank you for such a well-written review. I’ve been seeing quite a bit about this book around the past week or so, but hadn’t seen any criticism of it so I really appreciate your thoughts. I definitely think that this is one I might pass on after reading your review. I don’t read a lot of poetry collections, so when I do I want something a bit less exclusive. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Valerie

    Yay well said! Like when I read this, I also felt bad because I can’t force Lovelace to write outside her perspective since she is a cis white woman. But then again I think so much more could have been done to make it inclusive.