The Driver, The Journey, The Fall (Advance Reading Copy)

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 30 Nov 2018

Member Reviews

I’ve tried to read poetry at various times and ended up each time asking myself. “What is this? What is the author trying to say?” This is another of those times. I think The Driver, The Journey, The Fall was well written but I didn't really understand most of it. I’m sure this is a fantastic read for others who are more familiar with poetry.I was provided an ARC of this book by NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
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I received an Advanced Review Copy from Net Galley in exchanged for an honest review. The book is expected to be published in March 2019.

After reading this collection, I let it sit in my brain for a couple of days before writing this review, as I was unsure of how I felt about it. I had to revisit the poetry because it’s not memorable.

There’s on overarching theme of bleakness. However, I was inundated with repetitive imagery; most poems seemed to be rewrites of another (similar content, similar language). As a reader, I failed to connect with the McDougald emotionally, and felt the very vague poetry pass over my head.

Having said that, linguistically, I can see the author having potential. In the poem I Forgot My Wallet, I was low-key impressed, and wished more of McDougald’s poetry to be of this quality. In a number of poems, the forced rhymes were an unnecessary layer of distraction and weakened the writing in many levels: language, form & content. As it boils down to a subjective judgement, I rate this collection as 3 out of 5 stars (on the lower side of 3), in that it was better than bad. Perhaps other readers may connect more, although I have my doubts.

In summary, I’d say this poetry is mediocre at best. McDougald has some good ideas and directions, but I don’t feel like they are truly committed to what they’d like to say, and this barrier is risking alienating the readers to a state of boredom and non-interest. I wouldn’t recommend The Driver, The Journey, The Fall to anyone, but by all means, I’m interested in McDougald’s progress and future work, considering this is only a debut collection with hidden promise.
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I received this book for free from NetGalley. 
I am also in a strange emotional state, so all my opinions might be harsh and my reviews may read less coherently.

Now that the disclaimers are out of the way...

This reads as more substantial poetry than some of the other books that more popular poets are publishing these days, in my personal opinion. I also enjoyed that some of these poems fit that "traditional poetry" thing with rhyming and all that. Especially since I waver back and forth on how I feel about those two-sentence "poems" that seem to be around so much these days.

Having said that, I feel like this collection is a mishmash of lots of ideas that are good, but all jumbled together in this way reads a bit like confusion. I think these poems had been more sectioned out, or even saved for a less disjointed collection, I might've enjoyed them more. It may just be my emotional state right now, but I had a hard time jumping around from loss of a loved one to political poetry in the matter of a single page turn with no real division among the poems. That's probably just my personal preference, but...there it is anyway.

I would recommend this! Just with a warning that it feels disjointed and a bit confused.

One notable favorite: Burn the Fires and 100 Years From My Death, I Hope
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Promising debut from McDougald here.  Had a very modern feel, covering a range of themes, some random and surprisingly poignant given the subject matter.  There was a fair few poems in this collection like Lost My Heart and Valley of Memory that completely clicked with me, and others that missed the mark a little but liked regardless.

Would happily pick up future works by the poet on the back of this.

This was an ARC in exchange for an honest review.  With thanks to Netgalley and the publisher. .
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Beautiful, striking images work lyrically from words in this worthwhile and enjoyable collection.  Literary, lively, and to be savored.
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Not really my style but I wanted to try and expand on my reading and include poetry.  I didn't really understand most of it but it was well written.  I just needed something easier to start poetry off
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If someone asked me what this compilation of poetry is about, I would say, "Everything." And it is written by a woman who has apparently spent a great many years thinking about............everything. It is beautiful in its intensity and honesty, but describing the work with those those two words does not do her poetry justice, 

So much poetry is flowery and vague; you almost picture the author sitting down and striving to write words that will smother you with imagery.  But Lisa McDougald writes of what you have most likely dared to think about in your more honest moments, your darkest moments, the fears that overcome you upon waking at 3:00 AM, and maybe even insights that came upon you in meditation but you could not put into words.  She doesn't label her verse as such, but I was able to tap into her words and find myself there.

This is a work I will keep at my bedside table for times when I can be alone and undisturbed. It is a work to be taken in slowly. 

Read it slowly and ponder.
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As with almost any collection of writing, this was a little bit of a mixed bag. Some of the poems were excellent, many were okay, and a few really didn't do it for me. That said, I feel like McDougald is worth watching as I feel like she has good ideas and is developing a voice that will only grow stronger over her career.
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