I should preface this review by admitting an important detail: Amanda Lovelace hooked me for life with her first book, the princess saves herself in this one, and I’ve picked up everything she’s released since.
break your glass slippers is the start of a new series, “you are your own fairy tale”, which explores the deep emotional journey of fairy tale heroines (so far) becoming their own stories. break your glass slippers is Cinderella’s story of shattering expectations and becoming her own princess in her own fairy tale. I loved every page.
Lovelace is a genius with short, powerful poetry. A single line on an otherwise empty left page (the left page for most of the book represents the messages bombarding Cinderella from outside), evokes a stabbing ache of pain I would guess is close to universal for girls: “no one could ever want a fat girl like you.” –stepmother
It’s the only line on the page. The message so often repeated to girls from the time we’re little, from so many messengers rolled up into the evil stepmother archetype used here, and so very powerfully awful. It’s a heart-stab of pain, no punches pulled.
In response to stepmother, Fairy Godmother says: “you don’t need to look a certain way/to deserve someone’s heart./no matter your shape–/no matter your size–/be proud of all the space/your body dares to take up.” As Cinderella grows and experiences and falls into a foolish infatuation, the right side of the page is consistently the quietly persistent Fairy Godmother dispensing loving wisdom, which (as it does for many of us) takes a while to sink in.
The journey Cinderella takes is one many of us can viscerally relate to and, I won’t lie, there are multiple tough themes in break your glass slippers. Lovelace’s trigger/content warning at the beginning of the book is fairly long. But in exposing and exploring the sensitive areas so many of us face, so many of us are still working through, she creates a fairy tale space to journey through dark woods and come out the other side with a perfect fairy tale ending.
I am just as moved by Lovelace’s powerful imagery and sometimes jarring, sometimes soothing pacing of words as I was in her first book. I read break your glass slippers in an evening, twice, and thought about some of the pieces for a long time. I expect I’ll read it again tomorrow, because so many aspects of this one hit home for me in ways I hadn’t anticipated, and isn’t that the greatest joy of finding excellent poetry?
break your glass slippers is available at all the usual retailers (Amazon links above notwithstanding).