to drink coffee with a ghost (things that h(a)unt #2) by amanda lovelace
Just as I needed the mermaid’s voice returns in this one, I needed to drink coffee with a ghost. I promise all the tears I shed were because I felt so seen.
About the Book
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing | Release Date: September 17, 2019 | Pages: 160
Genre: poetry | Format: eBook | Source: Publisher via NetGalley
From the bestselling & award-winning poetess, amanda lovelace, comes the finale of her illustrated duology, “things that h(a)unt.” In the first installment, to make monsters out of girls, lovelace explored the memory of being in a toxic romantic relationship. In to drink coffee with a ghost, lovelace unravels the memory of the complicated relationship she had with her now-deceased mother.
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This is going to be a far more personal review than I ever thought I would be comfortable sharing, but here we are. This poetry collection hit me right in the feels and I shed many a tear while reading it. There is something about Lovelace’s poetry which resonates with me and I need to have a shelf dedicated to her work.
Just as I needed the mermaid’s voice returns in this one, I needed to drink coffee with a ghost. “What happens when someone dies before they’re able to redeem themselves?” is the main question that Lovelace investigates with to drink coffee with a ghost. I think it’s safe to say that we are all haunted by some parts of our past: people who caused intense and lasting hurt or events which changed us forever.
“lately, it seems like everywhere i look, i find daughters haunted by something their mothers did to them. we tell each other we would raise our daughters differently. we would do this while wondering if our mothers made the same promises to themselves.
This duology’s installment explores Lovelace’s complicated relationship with her now-deceased mother. While my own mother is still alive on this planet, her general disinterest in being a mother and subsequent abandonment when I was thirteen has largely shaped my life. I don’t know that words will ever adequately express the twenty-two years of pain and feeling like something was wrong with me. I just wish that I had some positive memories, too. But complicated we have in spades, my friends.
“the little girl was so desperate to feel loved, to feel like she existed at all, that she took anything that she could get, even if it was nothing but a bunch of make-believe.
– don’t accept scraps”
When a toxic person is no longer in your life, either through death or just cutting them out completely (or them running off), there are a lot of unresolved feelings. What ifs. Thousands of conversations you would have if given the chance. But at some point we become shackled by those unspoken words and decades pass us by, irrevocably changed.
While I loved the entire collection, I particularly appreciated sun showers and the hope that comes from acceptance. The fact that we cannot change what has happened but do have control over our own futures is something I need to focus on more in my life.
how many times
i hit replay,
i can’t change
i vow to focus
on whatever else
has in store
– my six of cups reversed”
There are illustrations by Munise Sertel throughout the collection which are absolutely stunning, I love their art style! I also really loved how Lovelace’s love of books and adventure through them is a running theme through the three sections of this collection. I think a lot of us read to escape the pain of real life.
Lovelace’s poetry collections speak to me on a very deep level, unearthing hurt long since buried and healing as I read. That’s the thing about trauma: it stays with you, shapes you and your life, with or without your recognizing it. And while my experiences never edged on the abuse she writes about, I see myself and my suffering through her words.
Content warnings: (provided by author) child abuse, eating disorders, sexual assault, self-harm, violence, cheating, death, gore, blood, trauma, grief
Many thanks to Andrews McMeel Publishing for sending me an eARC via Netgalley for my honest review! Quotations are from an uncorrected proof and are subject to change in final publication.