Life of the Party

Life of the Party

i'm a good girl, bad girl, sad girl, dream girlgirl next door sunbathing in the drivewayi wanna be them all at once, i wanna be all the girls i've ever lovedLauded for the power of her writing and having attracted an online fan base of millions for her extraordinary spoken-word performances, Olivia Gatwood is a thrilling new voice in contemporary feminist poetry. In Life o...

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Title:Life of the Party
Author:Olivia Gatwood
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Edition Language:English

Life of the Party Reviews

  • Natalieee

    I have been an avid fan of Olivia's work since I saw her recorded performances in 2007's Brave New Voices competition. Even from then, I knew she was standout talent. She performs and speaks like poetry is her first language, with such ease, that even the harshest, most daunting topics, always sound like a caress at points. Since then, her work has only improved.

    I would instantly click on each new video that appeared on Button Poetry's YouTube channel, and be mesmerized and engrossed in Olivia'

    I have been an avid fan of Olivia's work since I saw her recorded performances in 2007's Brave New Voices competition. Even from then, I knew she was standout talent. She performs and speaks like poetry is her first language, with such ease, that even the harshest, most daunting topics, always sound like a caress at points. Since then, her work has only improved.

    I would instantly click on each new video that appeared on Button Poetry's YouTube channel, and be mesmerized and engrossed in Olivia's words and work. Some of my favourites like "The Scholar," "Backpedal," and "Ode to the Women on Long Island" are thankfully in this edition of her book. I adored her poems in her previous chapbook, "New American Best Friend," but I am blown away by "Life of the Party."

    Each and every poem had me stop for a moment, take in Olivia's words, and truly ponder what she is expressing. Her words are haunting, beautiful, raw, real, tragic, and uplifting - all at the same time. It feels like a diary at points, as her descriptions of hot summer nights, encounters with people throughout her life, and more, are all so vivid and expertly descriptive, I felt like I was there with her throughout reading these poems. I was so engrossed that I read this in one sitting. And then I couldn't stop thinking about this book, so I bought the audiobook just to hear Olivia speak the words as she intends to. She truly makes you feel and understand each situation she places you in, each message she's trying to convey... I am at a loss for words to explain how this book made me feel.

    Regardless of how this work is read, I believe it must be read. It is expertly written, with pure passion and talent. It is instantly one of my favourite poetry books, and at this point I know that anything Olivia writes is pure gold.

    *Some quotes that shook me to my core, and that I can't stop thinking about*

    "pink lip and powdered nose in the casket/ a dozen sobbing men in stiff suits/ yes, even then, we are girls/ especially then, we are girls/ silent and dead and still/ the life of the party"

    "memory, too/ lives in my body/ not my brain"

    "it's just that i'm not afraid of blood/ which is also part of being a girl/ but being the only girl means making yourself lose when you've won too much"

    "One man asks how I reach the pedals/ One man asks where my daddy is/ One man opens his trunk and says/ Bet you're small enough to fit."

    "My father, who knows,/ and i mean really knows, my sadness, knew that i/ didn't need to be told,/ i needed to see, that despite/ it all, there was still/ something alive beneath me."

    "I am the star of the show/ I am sitting/ in an interrogation room while they decide what to do/ with the harvest they pulled in the form of a girl."

    " I want to note that it was not intended to be that, a revisiting, a memorial, but that the pollution of death is thick and unforgiving."

    "Laughter is not about humour,/ it is about acknowledging a shared joy./ Laughter is about bonding./ Example: When I hear men laughing, / I do not enter the room./ I crawl home in the dark."

    "We are sitting on the cusp of Spring./ We are always sitting on the cusp of Spring."

    "What am I, if not yours?/ What do I with my hands/ when they are just hands?"

    "...how heavy it is to have lived"

    "when we go to bed/ all of the women scale the fire escape/ perch on the rust/ cackle and sing/ you can tell how much he loves her/ by how he sleeps/ not at all/ not at all/ not at all."

    "maybe the world just didn't deserve her, maybe none of us did, someone so wholesome, so vibrant, so alive, so obedient, so demure, so petite, so tender, so strong, so pretty, so prude, so brave, so quiet, so butchered, so blue."

    "What i said/ happened is what happened/ and not what i remember"

    "The women on Long Island... keep a bat by the couch in case anyone gets Mickeyed, even if it's their own sons who did the drugging, the women on Long Island won't put it past any man to be guilty, even their kin, who, after all, have their husbands hands and blood."

    "One more thing: When they call you a bitch, say thank you. Say thank you, very much."

    "Who needs light when I have you?"

  • Kaitlyn

    This was one of the best books of poetry I have ever read. It was a brilliant exploration of society's fascination with murder and the stories of victims, as well as being part memoir. I want everyone to read this.

  • Emily

    This is the book that Dead Girls wanted to be, but much more powerful.

  • Misian Taylor

    I loved this book. I've read, pfft, hundreds of books of poetry in this blessed lil life and none of them made me feel riotously proud to have been a teenage girl. In the book, Gatwood is working through the rational terror of having a body the world thinks is theirs. These poems mirrored, validated, explored, and transformed so much anxiety and fear I have felt -- as a tomboy kid, a teenage girl, and as a genderqueer adult working through persistent internalized femmephobia. I identify as gnc a

    I loved this book. I've read, pfft, hundreds of books of poetry in this blessed lil life and none of them made me feel riotously proud to have been a teenage girl. In the book, Gatwood is working through the rational terror of having a body the world thinks is theirs. These poems mirrored, validated, explored, and transformed so much anxiety and fear I have felt -- as a tomboy kid, a teenage girl, and as a genderqueer adult working through persistent internalized femmephobia. I identify as gnc and am excited to hand-sell this to anyone who has ever been any kind of girl in this world.

    The book gains more and more focus, revving its engines all 147 pages so the girl-notquitegirl-femmeperson in the dark knows there's a gang in the dark not to save her but to witness her saving herself. It is apparent these poems were crafted with much love for anyone who has been or will be feminine or womxn or girl or femme or soft or betrayed.

    Lastly, reading these poems it occurred to my body that I might feel something other than shame. My brain knows this, has known it, but it takes time for the body to know. These poems spoke directly to my body. Afterward I felt strong for having been through what this world does to people it thinks are girls. And I felt powerful.

  • Hana  (Lady Bibliotaph)

    -My grandmother asks why I don't trust men

    This collection, inspired by True Crime, and part memoir, made me feel

    many different things.

    I honestly and truly enjoyed every single poem in this book. I loved how she sometimes changed up the format of her poems, rather than having them each be the same formula. It kept it interesting.

    Not only was it a subject

    -My grandmother asks why I don't trust men

    This collection, inspired by True Crime, and part memoir, made me feel

    many different things.

    I honestly and truly enjoyed every single poem in this book. I loved how she sometimes changed up the format of her poems, rather than having them each be the same formula. It kept it interesting.

    Not only was it a subject matter that I could relate to, the feminism piece really tied it together for me, making me feel absolutely powerful as a woman.

    Detailing her most intimate experiences growing up as a woman, dealing with misogyny, sexuality, self-acceptance, and the all

    fear of being murdered, It's hard not to relate, and be inspired by Olivia's candid honesty.

    Some poems made my heart ache so bad I had to stop reading, briefly, before I soon picked it up again.

    This collection is so incredibly well done, and I will surely be buying a physical copy when it gets released in August.

    My rating : ★★★★★ (5 stars)

    - - -

    Amazing phenomenal i might read it again

    //Rtc

  • Bree Hill

    "how can I talk about my grandmother without also mentioning that if everyone is a teen girl, then so are the birds, their soaring cliques, their squawking throats, and the sea, of course, the sea, its moody push and pull, the way we drill into it, fill it with our trash, take and take and take from it and still it holds up each time we walk into it. "

    Five heartbreakingly beautiful stars. This collection of poetry is hauntingly stunning. A well crafted cautionary tale from a poetess that is a co

    "how can I talk about my grandmother without also mentioning that if everyone is a teen girl, then so are the birds, their soaring cliques, their squawking throats, and the sea, of course, the sea, its moody push and pull, the way we drill into it, fill it with our trash, take and take and take from it and still it holds up each time we walk into it. "

    Five heartbreakingly beautiful stars. This collection of poetry is hauntingly stunning. A well crafted cautionary tale from a poetess that is a complete force to be reckoned with. I loved the very beginning where the author discusses the rabbit hole of true crime she found herself falling down and how she asked herself what role do poets play in true crime against young girls and women. She goes on to write this frightening collection of poetry that I couldnt get enough of. Well done Gatwood. I can't wait to hold a physical copy of this gem to revisit over and over again.

  • Diana Iozzia (Bookworm Banter)

    “Life of The Party”

    Written by Olivia Gatwood

    Reviewed by Diana Iozzia

    I’ve found it. A fantastic book of poetry that hit every expectation, that I found relatable, and that I found to be interesting and especially thought-provoking. Olivia Gatwood’s poetry is very feministic, showing the darker sides of being a woman and / or a female in today’s world. This poetry felt very realistic and absolutely challenged many of my conservative opinions. I also felt that Gatwood has a way of explaining someth

    “Life of The Party”

    Written by Olivia Gatwood

    Reviewed by Diana Iozzia

    I’ve found it. A fantastic book of poetry that hit every expectation, that I found relatable, and that I found to be interesting and especially thought-provoking. Olivia Gatwood’s poetry is very feministic, showing the darker sides of being a woman and / or a female in today’s world. This poetry felt very realistic and absolutely challenged many of my conservative opinions. I also felt that Gatwood has a way of explaining something poetically, without stripping away the darker side of the content. Often, I read modern poetry that makes light of more serious topics by making the words sound lyrical and pretty. For example, Rupi Kaur is a very popular, feministic, modern poet who uses personification, allusions, similes, and metaphors to explain the harsher sides of abuse, mental disorder, and sex. In addition, Amanda Lovelace’s poetry is similar. Contrastingly, Gatwood uses realistic language and does not use literary devices often. Her harsh, honest poetry is refreshing and absolutely horrifying.

    Additionally, Gatwood offers a very insightful foreword. She discusses how she has experienced and known of experiences that have occurred by men to women she knew. She speaks of violence with wisdom and solemnity. I find that poetry feels more meaningful, when drawn from experience. Olivia Gatwood’s poetry speaks about many important topics, such as, abuse, rape, sex, and murder. How men and women treat women. She discusses how it can be to grow up from childhood into adolescence and how that can change how men act. Her poems sometimes are inspired by true crimes, especially ones involving serial killers and murders, but they do not feel exploitative of the crimes and victims. They feel apologetic and sympathetic, rather than manipulative.

    My favorite poems from her collection are:

    “Girl”

    “First Grade, 1998”

    “The Sandias, 2008”

    “Staying Small”

    “When I Say That We Are All Teen Girls”

    “Mans/laughter”

    “The Lover as a Tapeworm”

    “Sound Bites as We Ponder Death”

    “She Lit Up Every Room She Walked Into”

    “Ode to the Unpaid Electricity Bill”

    In conclusion, I have absolutely found a new favorite modern poet. I always find myself struggling to enjoy the whole extent of a modern poetry collection, but I absolutely loved this one. I plan to read as much of Olivia Gatwood’s poetry as possible.

    I received an advance review edition of this book through Netgalley in exchange for reading and reviewing purposes. Additionally, thank you to Dial Press.

  • Becca (Coffeebooksandjournals)

    was expecting more from this book then what there was. I did relate to some of the lines in the poems in this collection. I didn't feel connected to it like i do with other poetry which is important to me. I feel that the poetry that I connect with is the ones that I enjoy more and stay with me. The poems that I don't connect with I usually don't remember that much. I do like this style of poems just these weren't for me, I guess.

  • Lisa

    LIFE OF THE PARTY by Olivia Gatwood is a collection of poems inspired by the author’s own life experiences, as well as true crimes and violence against women. While reviewing any piece of literature is difficult, I find poetry even more difficult, as it is such an extremely intimate creation. If I were forced to pick but two words to describe Gatwood’s collection, it would be hauntingly beautiful, or perhaps disturbingly beautiful.

    Gatwood is an immensely talented writer with the ability to take

    LIFE OF THE PARTY by Olivia Gatwood is a collection of poems inspired by the author’s own life experiences, as well as true crimes and violence against women. While reviewing any piece of literature is difficult, I find poetry even more difficult, as it is such an extremely intimate creation. If I were forced to pick but two words to describe Gatwood’s collection, it would be hauntingly beautiful, or perhaps disturbingly beautiful.

    Gatwood is an immensely talented writer with the ability to take truly devastating and awkward circumstances and write about them in a way that is not only familiar, but eloquent, and simultaneously breaks your heart into a million pieces.

    As with all poetry and short story collections, they are better savored over time rather than devoured in one messy bite. LIFE OF THE PARTY is a deep and provocative exploration of what it is to be a girl blossoming into a woman, and all the confusing and beautiful and terrifying experiences that do and can occur. Many of the poems in LIFE OF THE PARTY are quite complex and those not accustomed to reading poetry might find they need to mull many of them over in order to truly absorb the author’s intended message.

    While I thoroughly enjoyed reading the collection, I found the overall tone and message of the pieces did not resonate with me in the way in which I expected. Perhaps it was the gritty nature of many of the topics, or even the style of the poetry—as I often prefer a more lyrical style.

    If you are a connoisseur of the written word and enjoy pieces that make you take pause and think, this is a truly must-have collection. However, this book could be a trigger warning for victims of sexual abuse and violence.

    Thank you for the publisher and to Net Galley for providing a copy of this collection in exchange for an honest review.

  • Gabby

    I’ve read some poetry over the years and I’ve discovered some of it works for me and some of it doesn’t.

    , I appreciated the message, but I feel like a lot of it went over my head to be honest, most of the poems left me feeling confused instead of inspired. All these poems are about violence against women and true crime stories, and some of them were very dark and unsettling. I really liked the first poem, but that’s about it. These poems feel

    I’ve read some poetry over the years and I’ve discovered some of it works for me and some of it doesn’t.

    , I appreciated the message, but I feel like a lot of it went over my head to be honest, most of the poems left me feeling confused instead of inspired. All these poems are about violence against women and true crime stories, and some of them were very dark and unsettling. I really liked the first poem, but that’s about it. These poems feel more like a stream of consciousness and thoughts, as opposed to actual poems, I guess I just prefer a more conventional style of poetry.

    This might be more of a “it’s not you, it’s me” situation, but poetry is very subjective and I found this collection to be just okay.

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