Fairy Tales in Electri-City by Francesca Lia Block
Rating: R; 5 stars
Summary: This is a collection of poetry. As such, there isn't really much to summarize. All the poems share the common theme of some element from folklore, fairy tales, or mythology. The degree of that varies. While one poem strongly alludes to The Tempest, another only invokes the fantastic by personifying love. In general, though, they all contain some grain of the fantastic.
Opinions: Ok, I think it's pretty obvious that I'm a huge Francesca Lia Block fan, and I have been for a a few years now. That being said, I haven't read nearly as much of her poetry as I should. She has such a way with words, and it seems like she's never at a loss for a new interpretation of some fairy tale or mythical creature. I will say that I'm generally not a fan of poems with no capitalization, mostly because I went through a phase where I hated capitalization and punctuation, and it didn't really work. However, I find that I don't even notice it in Block's poetry. Her work speaks well beyond the words and letters on the page.
I read this entire book (little though it may be) in one sitting, sitting out in the sun on one of the first really warm days of this year. Sunny spot=good poetry reading spot. I shared all the good parts with my friend sitting next to me.
So, seeing as this is poetry, there isn't much to say on the book as a whole. I guess all that's left is to comment on some of my favorite poems in the book. To start, I loved the first poem in this book (the title poem, as well): “fairy tales in electri-city.” It's a longer piece, and some of it is very dark, but I loved the narrative flow of the poem. I wouldn't consider most of the poems in this book narrative, although I'm sure others would disagree, so this is one of the few that is narrative in nature. There's such a sense of wonder to this piece, but also a sense of knowing. I can't help but wonder if parts of it (the happier parts) are semi-autobiographical. But that's just a theory.
I love “centaur” for the sheer sensuality of it. And I would argue that it's a humorous poem, even if the topic isn't very funny. The language lends itself to humor (and there's just something about internally rhyming priapic with d***...). I loved “bear and deer,” and I can't even say why. I just loved it. “Fox girl speaks” spoke to me on a personal level; it reminded me of some friends I have. Those are just my personal favorites.
I rated this book R for sexual content and possibly language—I can't recall offhand if there's swearing in it, but it wouldn't surprise me. This definitely isn't a book for kids. However, I also gave it 5 stars, because I love it. I suppose I could be biased—I love poetry, and I love Francesca Lia Block. This is both of those. I'm sticking by my 5 star rating, though.
In short, if you like poetry, this is a good read. If you don't...I'd recommend giving it a try anyway.