**Disclaimer: I received a free advanced reader copy of Aphrodite Made Me Do It by Trista Mateer from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to them for this opportunity.
Aphrodite Made Me Do It by Trista Mateer is a short poetry collection taking on the dual points of view of Aphrodite and the poet herself. It releases on October 1st. I gave it 4.5/5 stars, which I had to put down as a 4 on Goodreads.
Here is the summary from Goodreads:
Bestselling and award-winning author Trista Mateer takes an imaginative approach to self-care in this new poetry and prose collection, Aphrodite Made Me Do It. In this empowering retelling, she uses the mythology of the goddess to weave a common thread through the past and present. By the end of this book, Aphrodite make you believe in the possibility of your own healing.
I always feel like I have a love hate relationship with modern poetry. It’s not something I usually reach for but there have been notable instances (Milk and Honey, and Shout) where I have absolutely loved it. I’m not sure what drew me to Aphrodite Made Me Do It when I requested it, but I’m glad that I did because it was a lovely, quick read.
I really enjoyed the way that Mateer played with language. Additionally, the dual perspectives were a really unique feature of this collection. I also liked the images that Mateer included in between the poems. It added a little Tumblr-esque touch that I really appreciated, though I’m sure not every one would.
One thing I found lacking in the eARC format was the formatting. One of the cool things about modern poetry is that they usually play with how they format and add meaning to the poem by that formatting. However, format is usually wonky in an eARC. I’m sure it will be fixed in the final copy but I was sad I didn’t get to fully appreciate that. My big thing that dropped this collection half a star was the length. It was very short, and I was left wanting more at the end. I wanted more poetry and more Aphrodite. Perhaps that’s a silly reason to drop it half a star, but I just really needed a little something more to bump it up.
Content wise, I loved the poems. I really enjoyed the way Mateer reclaimed the story of Aphrodite and discussed her historical and mythological treatment. The treatment of Aphrodite has always been somewhat misogynistic and Mateer really dug into this as she took on the Goddess of Love’s perspective. She also highlighted other instances of awful treatment of women in Greek mythology such as the stories of Medusa and Pandora, and it really makes you feel how deeply and how long women have been treated this way. It’s better, yes, but there’s still a long way to go.
In Mateer’s section, the parts that were autobiographical, it was interesting to read about her dealing with her trauma and unlearning things that she was taught by her parents about the way life should be. It reminded me that it’s important to forgive yourself. There were a lot of good messages of self care. It is so, so important to remember to take care of yourself.
Another really cool part of this collection is the parallel structure. We have a part about Aphrodite on a specific subject, then that is followed by a section on the poet titled in a similar fashion. I also really enjoyed the fact that the conversation with Aphrodite bled into the poet’s section. It added a bit of a whimsical feel. Another underrated thing that this book did, was include a list of trigger warnings at the start. I am not easily triggered, but I definitely think more books should do that.
Aphrodite Made Me Do It comes out on October 1, and if you enjoy modern poetry, I’d say it’s worth checking out.