Book Review Holes

there are stories we tell ourselves. storiesof wicked stepmothers and big bad wolves. stories of mirrors that chatter and enchantedspinning wheels, ready to prick some unlucky princess’s finger. poisoned apples, the best book i’ve readso far this year, offers up an even scarier villain: the voice inside our own head. poisoned apples is poetry, but don’t letthat put you off. there’s nothing pretentious about this stellar collection, though, asgood poetry should, it does surprise and enlighten. also, there’s this. poisoned apples maybe poetry, but it’s almost equally social criticism. using fairy tales, fables, andwell-known symbols of the american beauty

myth, author christine heppermann takes aimat a culture that turns little girls into princesses, and grown-up girls into self-hatingvillains. though wicked stepmothers and other traditionalantagonists do make appearances in this collection, the real villain—as i mentioned—is thecritical voice in our own head. the one that tears us to pieces more quickly than a wolf’steeth. heppermann doesn’t offer spells or magicpotions to defeat this smooth-talking enemy. but anyone who reads these smart, timely poemswill certainly identify it and perhaps, feel armed to face it down.

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