Book Review: Love and Misadventure by Lang Leav

I’m not really an avid reader of poetry and my expertise in the genre is minimal at best. However, I do appreciate well-written poems that I read every now and then. I remember that the first poem that I really liked, that had a profound effect on me, was Allen Ginsberg’s Howl which I read during an American Contemporary Literature class.  Since then, for brief spurts of time, I read poetry whenever the inspiration to do so strikes. In this regard, I think I now have a handle on appreciating poetry.

Enter Lang Leav’s Love and Misadventures. Admittedly, I was intrigued by its hype and, therefore, decided to read it since it was short and also because I was curious as to why a lot of people were raving about it. Surely, a lot of people can’t be wrong all at the same time and that Leav’s poetry would merit such a magnitude of fame. So, this afternoon with nothing better to do, I plunged in.

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What I read was nothing short of the worst poems that I have ever read in the entirety of my existence. I hate saying bad things about the books that I’ve read but I consider it my duty to turn everyone that I possibly can from purchasing or reading this book. I know that I am not offering any objective reasons yet as to why people should not touch this book so for those who trust my reading choices, just don’t, okay? DON’T! However, for those who needs more convincing, read on.

The first problem that I have is Leav’s metaphors. I am not an expert in poetry but I believe that a poet’s skill can be seen through the way that he/she uses metaphors. In Leav’s case, her metaphors leave something to be desired for they don’t just work. An example:

To love him
is something,
I hold highly
suspicious.

Like having something,
so very delicious—
then being told,
to do the dishes.

Leav uses doing the dishes as a metaphor for how the poetic persona feels when loving someone. I’m not sure how to even comment on this because of how Leav chose to use “doing the dishes” as a metaphor to the inner turmoil of someone in love! To me, it is just plain ridiculous and Leav, if she has any talent, could have done better. I mean, the above poem is not the only time that she used awful metaphors. For the sake of comparison, here is stanza from Neruda’s A Song of Despair:

You swallowed everything, like distance
Like the sea, like time. In you, everything sank!

For me, Neruda used the perfect metaphors in that stanza alone and the whole poem itself is a good example in the use of figurative language in poetry. Now, a lot of people will complain that it is not fair to compare Leav to Neruda. Why not? Neruda published Twenty Love Poems and A Song of Despair at the age of 20 and it was already Neruda’s second collection of poetry. Now, I think Leav published Love and Misadventures at an age older than Neruda’s. So why did Leav’s poems seem more juvenile and pathetic than Neruda’s? Is it really wrong to compare? I think not.

Another complaint that I have against Leav is her use of punctuation. Dashes, commas, and other unnecessary punctuation populated her poems that it does not make sense at times. An example:

The scatterbrain,
is a little like,
the patter of rain.

Neither here,
nor there,
but everywhere.

Why are there commas at the end of scatterbrain, like, here, there? It’s okay, I guess, to use punctuation to denote pauses but this is just plain ridiculous. Even Jose Garcia Villa’s Comma Poems, where there is a comma at the end of every word, does not work all the time. The result of Leav’s excessive comma use has made the poem very unwieldy and painful to read.

Metaphor and punctuation use are the most pervasive faults that I have found in the book. However, the last complaint that I have about this book is the juvenile outlook that it has on love. I can’t really ascertain why I felt that way but, while reading the book, I kept thinking that this can’t be written by someone of Leav’s age. It just lacked the maturity and profundity that I always liked from other books I read that were about love.

February isn’t even halfway through yet but I may have already found my worst read for the year. Come to think of it, it is actually the worst book that I have ever read in my entire life. So please, friends and strangers, stay away from this book. If you are looking for a poetry collection to read this month of love, I would highly recommend Neruda’s Twenty Love Poems and A Song of Despair. 

Rating: 1/5 (or 0/5 if Goodreads allowed such a rating to exist)

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Comments
8 Responses to “Book Review: Love and Misadventure by Lang Leav”
  1. Coincidentally, The Hatchet Job of the Year has just been awarded for an autobiography, which kind of makes the review more relentless. And here’s something about negative reviews:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/16/books/review/do-we-really-need-negative-book-reviews.html

    Keep them coming! 😀

  2. cornflake girl says:

    i really cannot comprehend why people are going crazy about this Lang Leav “poetry”. Guess this phenomenon strongly reveals the level of depth and comprehension of most people… awwww sad

  3. Ki says:

    If you read the ‘About the Author’ page in the back of the book, then you’d find that the poems are intentionally childlike. That IS the purpose of the poems, to showcase romantic love in an innocent way. Also, I don’t think that the author’s age should make the objective less respectable. If she happens to be older than someone else who wanted to write about the same topic in a more mature aspect, then that really isn’t a problem (or at least not her problem). Innocence isn’t necessarily torn away from everyone at the same time in life, if at all. The two authors have nothing to do with each other. Besides, the oldest of people write children’s books. 🙂

    Seriously though, it’s on like the last page of the book, in the section about the author. The objective was literally to be childlike, so I guess she achieved her goal.

    • Hi Ki!

      Thanks for dropping by but I really couldn’t care less about what was written in he “About The Author” page of this book. It even sounds worse because it then sounds that she is already making an excuse for how bad her poems are. The point is that the poems were really bad because it didn’t subscribe to my belief about what a poem should be. It was juvenile, irresponsible in its use of poetic devices, and just terrible to read. I made comparisons with Pablo Neruda so that I can showcase the gap between what should be considered good poetry and bad poetry. There needs to be a distinction because, if we keep considering that Leav’s poems as good, then we might as well declare poetry, as a literary form, to be dead.

      Also, children’s books is a genre of its own and there are writers of the said genre like Maurice Sendak (Where The Wild Things Are) and Tove Jansson (The Moomin Series) who have shown incredible depth and nuance that Lang Leav simply do not possess.

      And, no, this book of poems is, for me, a clear failure even if her objective was to be childlike. The book’s main problem was not its childlike outlook or juvenile attitude towards love but rather its all around terribleness. It is really a bad collection of poems and it is my Christmas wish that Leav stop writing poetry altogether.

  4. Christina says:

    I hate her poems so much. If they werent so popular maybe i wouldnt feel this much dislike. And seeing screen shots of her lines — her 1, 2-sentence seemingly poetic lines — make me want to close my eyes and unread what i just had. As for her punctuations maybe shes following the likes of ee cummings. It’ horrible. So horrible. Even the sight of it on the shelves makes me want to put it at the back of the pile.

  5. Jhoanne says:

    Hmmm… I do not have much experience regarding poetry, but I agree with you. I’m sixteen and have only scanned through a handful of her poems but I find them pitiful. Maybe I’m just meticulous or an old soul living in a young body but none of her poems were aesthetically pleasing. Can I perhaps then recommend Beau Taplin’s Priorities?

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  1. […] the fact that I can now say that I have read the worst book in my life which is Lang Leav’s Love and Misadventure. Anyway, more on February later, here are my reads for the month of […]



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