Book Review: Miss Emily



ashley | I don’t read a lot of poetry, but it’s something I always say I wish I read more of. I’m not overly familiar with Emily Dickinson or her work, but any time a poetry question comes up on Jeopardy, she is my answer. My point being, I know little about her or her life, but I know how much of an impact she has made in the literary world, so when we were contacted for an ARC of Miss Emily by Nuala O’Connor, I quickly and eagerly accepted.

I love fictional re-imaginings. I find they are an easy way to step into foreign territory and in this case, an easy way to introduce me to a poet I have always been meaning to say hello to.

It’s one thing to read a biography that says someone lived a reclusive life and was withdrawn from people, taking an interest in death and Immortality. It is quite another thing to see it come to life on these pages, to be shown the inner fear and anxiety going out in crowds inflicted inside of her, to hear her have conversations with people about the topics that were so prominent in her poetry. O’Connor has done a wonderful job of giving a voice to Emily, a voice that seems quite fitting for the impression of this poet we generally have.

The prose, and especially anytime Emily expresses herself, is like poetry itself. The way she sees the world Is so colorful and vibrant. And the way O’Connor brings Emily to life in this book is a talent to be celebrated. She mixes facts about Emily’s life and her poems into a well crafted story. Each chapter flipped between Emily’s point of viiew and that of Ada, her new maid. Ada was just as compelling a characer as Emily, and while she may not share the same fascination with words, she was still able to spin her own interesting story. It was a nice touch, a great addition that helped compliment and further explore Emily’s character.

I love, love, loved everything about this. Emily was fierce and loyal and it’s not hard to see why she’s such a celebrated poet. This was the perfect introduction to a woman who I now feel is a kindred spirit and I want to rush out and read everything Emily Dickinson has ever written.


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July 14, 2015
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