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Final Girl

by Daphne Gottlieb
Published by Soft Skull Press

The last girl standing -- usually running or crawling, screaming for safety, covered in blood. She's the last one alive and the only one to share her horrific story - this is The Final Girl. In this collection of poems and short stories, Gottlieb explores in great detail, the stories and traumas of the "femme fatale" in slasher films.

Gottlieb identifies and articulates desires and fears with dramatic monologues and vivid imagery. You are right there with her, and usually it's not a pretty place. Showing the struggle to obtain life, or in most cases, death -- especially in "Name that Tune," "I knew It Was Over," and "Owed". She closes the poem with one of the most beautiful lines I've read in a long time A rose has never bloomed in my mouth without leaving it's thorns in my throat. But my favorite piece in Final Girl is "Female Trouble." Here, she re-mixed text from news accounts of the murders of Gwen/Eddie Araujo and Arthur Pratt from coverage in and the San Francisco Chronicle from October 2002. Gwen Araujo was apparently beaten to death by three men for being transgendered, while Arthur Pratt on the other hand, was beaten to death by his wife for not having sex on demand.

Even though emphasis on slasher films is prominent, Gottlieb also pays homage to American icons Marilyn Monroe, Patty Hearst, Sojourner Truth and Jack Kerouac. Gottlieb puts you right there in every horrific scene. Reading this collection, I was smacked in the face with a mixed bag of emotions. Through clever, witty writing, Gottlieb invites you into the Final Girls harsh reality. As much as I wanted to stay there, being a single girl living alone reading this at 2 am, I couldn't wait to get out.

  -- by Robyn Hale


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