The Myths of Girlhood

Poetry - General
159 Pages
Reviewed on 02/27/2019
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Author Biography

Christine E. Ray lives outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A former Managing Editor of Sudden Denouement Publications, she founded Indie Blu(e) Publishing with Kindra M. Austin in September 2018. Ray is the author of the award-winning Composition of a Woman and The Myths of Girlhood. Her writing is also featured in We Will Not Be Silenced: The Lived Experience of Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault Told Powerfully Through Poetry, Prose, Essay, and Art, Anthology Volume I: Writings from the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective, Swear to Me, and All the Lonely People. Read more of her work at

    Book Review

Reviewed by Gisela Dixon for Readers' Favorite

The Myths of Girlhood by Christine E. Ray is a poetry collection that revolves around the theme of womanhood and everything it entails. The Myths of Girlhood is a stark book in the sense that it portrays the woman not simply as the stereotypical gentle, delicate “fairer sex” but instead as a raw, powerful warrior that fights both external and internal battles. The book is well formatted and after the initial introduction of what the book is about, it dives into several poems that deal with a wide range of themes. These center around fighting battles not only against society as a whole in order to break free from the rules and restrictions of gender, but also internal fights for self-esteem, self-worth, and self-respect.

The Myths of Girlhood by Christine E. Ray is a powerful collection of poems and Christine’s voice is raw and almost primeval at times. I loved reading these poems and could actually feel the surge of energy that bounces off the pages. These are poems that any human being would identify with, but especially women who have gone through struggles and trying times, whether it is sexual assault, domestic violence, mental health issues such as depression, addiction, or even simply a lack of equal freedom and opportunities in what still is predominantly a male-dominated patriarchal world. This is the voice of millions that Christine expresses and echoes through these poems. I liked almost all of the poems but some that stood out for me were Where My Ghosts Come Out to Play, Unrepentant, Survivor’s Guilt, Backside of the Night, Young Wolf, Blue Moon, Magical Memory, and more. This is a poetry collection that I would highly recommend.

Edith Wairimu

The Myths of Girlhood by Christine E. Ray is a raw and powerful collection that discusses various emotional experiences and topics. Ray takes us on a journey full of striking events and times of transformation. In the poems “Dissolution” and “Go Ask Alice,” she explores the struggle of finding identity and the pain that accompanies depression. Another prominent topic that stands out in the collection is the unrealistic expectations and limitations that society places on women. In the poem “I Knew My Name,” the poet discusses how society places limitations on girls from an early age. Another topic that is featured includes female objectification which is discussed in the poem “Objectification.” Domestic violence and sexual abuse are other prominent topics in the collection. The poem “Ode to a Black Eye” defines domestic violence explicitly.

Christine E. Ray’s collection, The Myths of Girlhood, is open and does not shy away from sensitive and difficult topics. In all the poems, the poet maintains an honest approach and includes different emotions and perspectives which allow for an in-depth understanding of the themes. The intensity of the tone in some of the poems communicates the desperation and pain of the characters. For other poems, such as “I Knew My Name,” it is the progressive narration of different events in the characters’ lives that effectively communicate the message of the poem. The words used in the collection are few but equally impactful, nonetheless. The Myths of Girlhood is a passionate collection that contains topics that inform and resonate with readers.

Mamta Madhavan

The Myths of Girlhood by Christine Ray is an insightful and beautiful collection of verses that gives readers a peek into the many stories of the lives of women, the pain we carry, and the strength that lies within us, along with sharing skeins of her personal life that have led her to analyzing the psyche of girlhood and womanhood. She helps women readers look into the dark side of their lives which have left them crippled yet given them the immense strength to emerge as survivors. Dealing with the past, embracing the demons inside, and walking towards freedom form the crux of her poetry which is an encouragement to all those who are survivors.

It is a collection of self-discovery, courage, conviction, strength, and transformation, one that speaks to all poetry lovers. There is an element of pain and angst that runs through her verses, and the minimalist expressions and starkness bring this out, making them tangible. Her words capture the vulnerability, helplessness, and remorse of a survivor, which stands out in the poem 'Introductions'. Every poem in the book is well worded and effective and will hit readers with unexpected beauty and profundity. 'Breathe Out In Black' is another poem that caught my attention with its darkness. For those readers who love poetry and poetic expressions, this collection is a must-read. They will love the honesty and straightforwardness that lingers in the poems and the way the emotions have been expressed is palpable while one is reading this collection.