Cover image for Poisoned apples : poems for you, my pretty
Poisoned apples : poems for you, my pretty
Heppermann, Christine.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Greenwillow Books, 2014.
Physical Description:
114 pages : illustrations ; 19 cm
"Christine Heppermann's powerful collection of free verse poems explore how girls are taught to think about themselves, their bodies, their friends--as consumers, as objects, as competitors. Based on classic fairy tale characters and fairy tale tropes, the poems range from contemporary retellings to first person accounts set within the original stories. From Snow White's cottage and Rapunzel's tower to health class and the prom, these poems are a moving depiction of young women, society, and our expectations. Poisoned Apples is a dark, clever, witty, beautiful, and important book for teenage girls, their sisters, their mothers, and their best friends"--
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3608.E66 A6 2014 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Every little girl goes through her princess phase, whether she wants to be Snow White or Cinderella, Belle or Ariel. But then we grow up. And life is not a fairy tale.

Christine Heppermann's collection of fifty poems puts the ideals of fairy tales right beside the life of the modern teenage girl. With piercing truths reminiscent of Laurie Halse Anderson and Ellen Hopkins, this is a powerful and provocative book for every young woman. E. Lockhart, author of We Were Liars, calls it "a bloody poetic attack on the beauty myth that's caustic, funny, and heartbreaking."

Cruelties come not just from wicked stepmothers, but also from ourselves. There are expectations, pressures, judgment, and criticism. Self-doubt and self-confidence. But there are also friends, and sisters, and a whole hell of a lot of power there for the taking. In fifty poems, Christine Heppermann confronts society head on. Using fairy tale characters and tropes, Poisoned Apples explores how girls are taught to think about themselves, their bodies, and their friends. The poems range from contemporary retellings to first-person accounts set within the original tales, and from deadly funny to deadly serious. Complemented throughout with black-and-white photographs from up-and-coming artists, this is a stunning and sophisticated book to be treasured, shared, and paged through again and again.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* In 50 free-verse poems, Heppermann offers revisionist views of such traditional fairy tales as Snow White, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood, and more. Each of her verses is offered in the context of the modern lives of young women, who must confront the difference between the promises of sugar-coated fantasy and the bitter lessons of real life lives that are often plagued by such problems as self-image, sexual harassment, anorexia, loneliness, and self-loathing. Thus, a bitter Eve is the first anorexic; the giant's daughter goes to the prom with greedy little Jack but longs for a man she can look up to; Miss Muffet diets until she is so small that the spider can wrap her in his web for later ingestion; Cinderella's ugly stepsister binges; Red Riding Hood wants to cohabit with the sexy wolf; the erstwhile ugly duckling has second thoughts about beauty; and more. As for tone and spirit, one could exhaust a thesaurus searching for words adequate to describe these selections: angry, acerbic, bleak, bitter, caustic, and cutting, and those are only the first three letters of the alphabet. As for content, look elsewhere for inspiration, but linger here for hard-edged truth. And while you're reading, enjoy the black-and-white photographic illustrations, which capture the tone and echo the occasional obscurity of each poem for although the literal meanings are not always immediately forthcoming, the haunting, evocative sensibility evoked is ever and impeccably present.--Cart, Michael Copyright 2014 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

In a potent collection of verse, Heppermann melds fairy-tale imagery with lacerating commentary about the demands that society makes on women and girls. The results are excoriating and nearly impossible to forget. "Once upon a time there was a girl who/ had a good hair week!" opens a magazine-style twist on Red Riding Hood. "Seven cute looks/ she could do at home, and their names were/ Waves, Bun, Bangs, Braid, Sleek, and/ Party-Ready Ponytail." Other poems examine eating disorders, consent, and body image, but while Heppermann illuminates many bitter truths, she also celebrates women's ability to surmount the societal, systemic forces seeking to box them in. "If I was a good girl,/ if I could satisfy their cravings... I might have stayed at the table," reads "Gingerbread." "Wouldn't you run, too,/ from such voracious love?" Ages 13-up. Agent: Tina Wexler, ICM. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Review

Gr 8 Up-Traditional folk and fairy tales collide with feminist observations of modern beauty and hygiene culture in this compilation of 50 free verse and easy to read poems. Each one grapples with the state of femininity with caustic wit, heavy with criticism. Readers will also be treated to moody and eye-catching artwork that complements the poems perfectly. The accessibility of the poems coupled with the striking book cover and photos will appeal to a wide range of readers. The poems should spark interesting questions and insights for contemplation about obtaining a pop culture-derived, air-brushed perfection. One weakness is a failure to consider diversity in femininity; more feminine readers might find the poems slightly insulting because of a tone of disdain toward beauty culture. Overall, however, this is an engaging and enjoyable volume.-Mindy Whipple, West Jordan Library, UT (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.