The poems in OUT OF SOMETHING UGLY are not for the faint of heart, and they may even lose some readers who don’t care to put themselves through such an unabashedly raw account of suffering. But her total vulnerability makes for an often empathetic, connected reading experience. It can feel like reading someone else’s diary – with all the discomfort and embarrassment that comes with this.
Words are bolded and capitalized, and many ideas related to darkness and self-pity are played out to their extremes. But you’ll rarely catch this author doing anything she doesn’t acknowledge herself. In the end, the effect may still be frustrating for some readers. For those who don’t mind hanging in through some redundancy and self-loathing, there is an arc and an evolution that, after all they’ve been through with the narrator, readers will hang some hopes on and want to follow. There is often an unpolished, even unedited feel to the poems, and while the wild feel works with the themes, some poems could be cut.
The author makes effective use of natural imagery and metaphors to crack open a tortured mind for readers to see. She expresses a desire to “make hideousness beautiful,” but also to help others going through something similar to understand that abuse isn’t love. The poems revel in misery and a swirling combination of love and hate for herself and her abuser, and later on in the collection another element comes in, a feeling that she has to do something different.
Animals go from metaphors for worldly horrors to real, solid companions. The narrator herself begins to make a transformation. After reading pages and pages of some of the worst abuse and emotional horror imaginable, any small sign of hope, or at least change, is something to cling to, and margot nothing gives it to us. The last poem feels somewhat abrupt, but it does feel like an acceptable closing chapter on the story she’s told us in this collection. It almost feels as if she’s leaving it open to a sequel. Though you may not feel swept away in the end – and it would be a jarring turn of events if you were – you’ll feel a satisfying shift.
~Madeline Dennis-Yates for IndieReader