Poisoned Apples by Christine Heppermann
Last week I chose to read a poetry book titled Poisoned Apples by Christine Heppermann. This book contains 50 free-verse poems that are combined with elements of fairy-tales and delves into many of the pressures facing young female teens today. The poems examine such topics as domestic violence, eating disorders, sexuality, and self-harm, In the poem “Spotless” the author intertwines the fairy-tale “Little Red Riding Hood” into the poem about (what I believe to be) self-injury. Other poems are easier to discern with titles such as “The Elves and the Anorexic”, “A Shape Magazine Fairy Tale”, and “Photoshopped Poem”. While weaving fairy-tale elements into the subject matter, Heppermann reveals the perception many adolescent females have about themselves.
When I first spotted this book, I was interested in reading it considering it was about issues facing adolescent females with a fairy-tale twist. And my thought was this might be a good book for my classroom library considering it’s a poetry book aimed at a female audience. I enjoy reading poetry and went in with an open mind. After the first few poems, I started having a hard time wanting to finish it. While I believe the structure with the integration of fairy-tales is clever, I had a hard time really enjoying it. I can’t really say that it was the writing, as poetry is the one genre that is open to interpretation. I believe my problem in reading the poems was that in my mind I kept thinking that some of these poems may not be appropriate for certain students to read, especially those dealing with personal issues of their own. This may be one of the few times that my age is starting to show. Although I am aware that these are issues that are prevalent in today’s society, I just felt that some of these poems may be taken as glorifying certain areas. I can definitely see that this would be a book that would be challenged if I was to incorporate it into my classroom library.