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  • The Fairy Tale Magazine

Book Review: The Spellbook of Fruit and Flowers by Christine McDermott

Updated: Jul 1, 2023

The Spellbook of Fruit and Flowers by Christine Butterworth McDermott is the perfect summer book for a poolside read, or for a cooldown after a day of gardening in the sunshine. This book explores themes of freedom, tranquility, and fantasy while pondering the question: What is it like to be a woman in this world?

McDermott uses different fruits and different types of flowers throughout each of the poems as direct odes, or as tactics for symbolism, which gives the poems a fantasy and whimsical feel that will get your own creative brain moving. The book is divided up into three sections, the first one containing primarily fruit and flower related poems, the second is a short section containing only one long poem, and then the third is broken up into many short poems again. She also includes figures from history, mythology, and legend as subjects in her work, so if you’re a fan of Hades and Persephone, Ariadne, and Adam and Eve type tales, this is definitely the book for you. The poem in particular that stood out the most to me was Certain Bones, With Wisteria. It is a critical and whimsical dive into history, discussing figures such as Caspar Wistar, Jefferson, and Lewis and Clark—and the roles of women and wives in their time and time before theirs. Wisteria is used as a symbolizer for women. It makes a point that women deserve to be considered equal to everyone else and the wisteria represents that idea. I would absolutely recommend this book be added to your TBR list this summer. It’s the perfect break from all the chaos of the day, and is a way to wind your body down while also waking your mind up.

You can buy the book HERE.

Madeline Mertz is FTM's editorial intern and is a Truman State University student with literary journal experience.

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