Falling Slowly by Amantine Brodeur – A Review


Falling Slowly is a self-confessed reflection of what it ‘means to be woman’. As such, it deals with love, life, loss and betrayal. This is, of course, not to say, that these subjects are solely the domain of women. Putting it simply, they’re not. However, this fact does not make them any less significant aspects of women’s experience. Brodeur tells the reader that this collection of work is to, for, and about all women – especially those who have experienced trauma. One could, and perhaps should read this collection in much the same way that one reads and understands cautionary tales. Brodeur bravely mines their personal experience to make sense of themselves and guide others.

The work is imbued with stereotypical feminine inflections and motifs throughout – clearly intentional. But, capricious it is not. There is, quite suitably given the subject matter, a toughness; a tenacity; a true grit. This reviewer is especially interested in representations of gender, masculinity and femininity; and to find that these texts shake things up some, and rattle the walls with their noncompliance is especially pleasing. Language choices throughout the collection testify to this, in Home Is My Forgotten Place the poet-speaker discusses the sting of a sordid story, storms, lightnings, blood-dry mouths; collectively a powerful and evocative series of images, that on first reading do not appear to tell what it ‘means to be woman’. But of course, they do. From the outset then, this writer challenges our perceptions. Indeed, the work is never ‘In danger of being too feminine and forgettable’ – but this reviewer asks what is it to be feminine?

This said, while I find this all admirable, there are times when I personally struggle with this collection. Not because it is poorly written, it is not. But, I’m not sure it was written with me in mind. Certainly, on the surface, this is not a collection of work composed with men of my vintage and background as its primary target audience. I can tell this much! This reads as if it is to empower the voiceless, to offer strength, support, and understanding to the women of the world (in today’s world take the word women to mean whatever it does to you). Although, this makes Falling Slowly no less interesting or important a read to those who fall outside of the arbitrary parameters of just what it is to be woman that I am forming in my mind. These stories of love, life, loss, and betrayal ought to be heard, considered, and reacted to. Do I believe that Amantine Brodeur is speaking for me? Absolutely not! But she is speaking to me, and I think it’s important I listen – that we all listen.      

Falling Down is available from Bookhub Publishing.

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