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How to (Un)cage a Girl Hardcover – September 16, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen (September 16, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061358363
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061358364
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 7.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,383,415 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up—These poems traverse the steep climb from girlhood to womanhood while unearthing the hard truths hidden within this journey. Divided into three parts—"years at the asylum," "in the hair of the toxic blonde," and "love poems for girls"—the collection touches on anorexia, self-love and loathing, parental relationships, superficiality, losing one's virginity, rape, and love and loss. Block celebrates womanhood, but not in a bubblegum, girl-power way. Plathian symbols abound, from pervasive father issues to Nazi comparisons to insane asylums, real and imagined. The poems feel simultaneously autobiographical and universal. While the death of the narrator's father in "a myth of love for girls" colors her search for a partner, the universal struggle of women to escape or find their father's image in future relationships is aptly captured. The final selections cross into the territory of life lessons learned well beyond the teen experience and perhaps ring too much like motherly advice, but the raw authenticity of the narrator's voice throughout overshadows any later departure. Teenage girls, especially sophisticated, angst-filled poetry readers, will devour this insightful and powerful collection.—Jill Heritage Maza, Greenwich High School, CT
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Block once again mixes characters from fairy tale and myth—vampires, mermaids, fairies—in this collection of urban poems that contrast menace and beauty; innocence and heartbroken experience; despair and bold confidence. As in her recent story collection, Blood Roses (2008), the works frankly discuss body image, sex, and love, and subjects that stretch into adult life, with poems about marriage, divorce, and motherhood. Luxuriant imagery of roses, feathers, and glitter contrast with dark, menacing scenarios of girls and women threatened by men and by their own brutal judgment, with vibrant, sometimes cruel Los Angeles as a constant backdrop. Eating disorders figure into many poems, as does advice on finding joy. There is hope in the beautiful title poem, which speaks about the limitless freedom that can come with self-acceptance, and young women will easily relate to the many selections about teen naïveté and restlessness: “just us girls all in shiny pink / waiting for something to happen.” A stirring exploration of female suffering and empowerment, this will attract Block’s adult readers, too. Grades 11-12. --Gillian Engberg

More About the Author

Francesca Lia Block, recipient of the prestigious Margaret A. Edwards Lifetime Achievement Award. has been publishing novels, short stories, essays, memoirs and poetry since 1989. Her work has been translated into many languages. Ms. Block lives in Los Angeles where she teaches writing workshops that are also available online.

Customer Reviews

This book is so good and it forces you to realize and to imagine things you did not realize before.
Debbie L. Galloway
I love Francesca Lia Block, so really a book of poems about adolescence was a no-brainer for me to pick up.
Brittany Moore
This slim poetry collection is a must have for fans of Block and those who love a good poetry book.
Enchanting Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Enchanting Reviews on October 27, 2008
Format: Hardcover
HOW TO UN(CAGE) A GIRL
FRANCESCA LIA BLOCK

Rating: 4.5 Enchantments

...choose to believe in your own myth
your own glamour
your own spell
a young woman who does this
(even if she is just pretending)
has everything....

This is just a taste of what awaits the reader in Francesca Lia Block's new collection of poetry that celebrates the journey of a girl growing up. Block's collection of poems is both powerful and moving. The words flow like magic, hitting a cord on emotions such as loss, growing up, and death of a father to cancer. The theme is universal and the voice is authentic and true.

I love Block's poetry. Her poems in this collection touched me; especially the one titled pain is like an onion. Who ever suffered a broken heart can relate with this message.

Not all of the poems deal with sad issues. There's also hope. Block talks about believing in yourself and your own beauty. Not what the world considers beautiful but the beauty that's within.

My only complaint is this book ended too soon. This slim poetry collection is a must have for fans of Block and those who love a good poetry book.

Francesca Lia Block is the author of many acclaimed and bestselling books, including WEETZIE BAT, DANGEROUS ANGELS, and PSYCHE IN A DRESS. You can find out more about her by visiting her website at [...]

Kim
ENCHANTING REVIEWS
August 2008
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Satia Renee VINE VOICE on October 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
How to (Un)cage a Girl by Francesca Lia Block is a collection of poetry full of lush and lavish imagery. It reads almost like a memoir, an open letter to her friends, her children, and her many fans. I don't know enough about Block's life or history to know how much of these poems are confessional. It doesn't matter. The messages, if they are based on her individual experience, have a resonance. Any young girl struggling with body image will understand the narrator's anorexia even if the reader hasn't starved herself for beauty's sake.

I can't imagine any girl growing up in our nation not being compromised by body image issues.

If there is any doubt about why Block has a huge cadre of fans, reading this book will settle some of the misgivings to rest. Whether the poetry style appeals or not, the messages are ones that only an oblivious or vicious person would not agree is beneficial to young readers.
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Format: Hardcover
HOW TO (UN)CAGE A GIRL is a short collection of poetry for and about girls. Told in three parts, these poems deal with many facets of life that women must deal with, from being a teen to becoming an adult. This is a book about life: the ups and downs, the pressure, the joys, the pain. This tiny book includes it all.

I enjoyed the book very much, and found the modern approach to poetry to be interesting and refreshing. It was a bit hard to understand at parts, but definitely enjoyable overall.

One of my favorite entries in this collection was one titled Media Queenz, which addresses all the singers and actresses that girls tend to idolize. I think the following line from this poem explains it best:

"where were our pradas? our pouts?
our captivating glances?
only later we would grow up
and realize that these women were just women"

This is a perfect novel for any girl who ever felt unworthy or like they didn't fit in. We are all our own people, and this book celebrates that.

With the holidays approaching, this small book would make a great stocking stuffer, as well!

Reviewed by: Lauren Ashley
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By Debbie L. Galloway on August 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I read some of this in a 2008 Cosmo girl magazine and it was so inspirational! I thought that it really talked about the problems and self confidence issues that teenage girls have. I read one in which a girl was comparing herself to a popoular girl, and the things she talked about were so true. This book is so good and it forces you to realize and to imagine things you did not realize before. Its a great read for any teenage girl and if they're ready for it, any guy!!
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By Sara Sliter on August 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
this book contains lots of short stories and mostly poems. her writing is so unique. i always end up highlighting or underlining sections i can really relate to. quick read and nice to go back to read over and over.
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Format: Hardcover
Block's collection of poetry almost reads like a narrative, opening the floodgates of adolescence with 120 pages of verse. Her style is confessional, raw, and at times racy, but ultimately her work is refreshing. It's not the pinnacle of the poetic tradition, and it's certainly gimmicky, but considering the audience, the gimmicks make the work more accessible for non-connoisseurs. How to Uncage a Girl is an enjoyable read, and current teenage girls will certainly find this tome a treat, as it was written just for them.
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