This review is spoiler free.
“I think I crave rejection
And self-sabotage days
I like the way they taste
In their smokey beer cross haze
I like to feel this empty
To make some time for pain
Nothing drives me more crazy
Than the breaks of feeling sane.”
Published: 2018, by HQ.
Genre: Poetry, Feminism, Nonfiction, Women’s, Mental Health, Memoir, Contemporary, Adult
Contains: Violence, Anger, Strong Language, Blood/Gore, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Body Image, Self-Harm, Bipolar Disorder, Depression
‘She Must Be Mad’ explores coming-of-age: the pain and beauty of love, the relief and agony of turning from girl to woman, the isolation of an untethered mind and the power and subjugation of the body. For every woman surviving and thriving in today’s world, for every girl who feels too much; this is a call for communion, and you are not alone.
This is my first readthrough of Charly Cox’s work, having never felt drawn to it before now but having owned it for a few years. The title is what drew me in the most, adoring the idea of poetry exploring the nature of mental health and being quite a fan on the modern take of the form. Needless to say, I was not disappointed.
This is a powerful anthology about relationships, the body, and mental health, in which Cox writes beautifully and elegantly, expressing her thoughts on the matters and experiences as a modern day woman. It’s very hard-hitting, with little breaks and continues page after page with personal experiences and complexities.
The poems themselves were each beautiful in their own rights, with a simple rhyming scheme to keep you invested and personal subject matters that were relatable to myself as a reader. Whilst the sprinkles of prose were less so engaging, finding them a slight struggle to read through. Personally, I’ve never felt engaged with prose in a poetry anthology, so it is more of a personal preference, but I enjoyed the first few – the rest just seemed a little too repetitive to me. I feel as if they would have been better as spoken word, rather than myself reading it on the page, so I might invest in the audiobook and try them that way.
Overall, this anthology was interesting. I found myself inspired by some of the poems, itching to grab my own notebook and write a few myself, and I enjoyed the themes within.