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Life of the Party

4.49  ·  Rating details ·  265 ratings  ·  79 reviews
i'm a good girl, bad girl, sad girl, dream girl
girl next door sunbathing in the driveway
i wanna be them all at once, i wanna be
all the girls i've ever loved

Lauded for the power of her writing and having attracted an online fan base of millions for her extraordinary spoken-word performances, Olivia Gatwood is a thrilling new voice in contemporary feminist poetry. In Life o
Paperback, 128 pages
Published August 27th 2019 by Dial Press (first published August 20th 2019)
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4.49  · 
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 ·  265 ratings  ·  79 reviews

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I’ve read some poetry over the years and I’ve discovered some of it works for me and some of it doesn’t. This poetry collection just didn’t really work for me, I appreciated the message, but I feel like a lot of it went over my head to be honest, most of the poems left me feeling confused instead of inspired. All these poems are about violence against women and true crime stories, and some of them were very dark and unsettling. I really liked the first poem, but that’s about it. These poems feel ...more
Rachel León
Aug 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, poetry, read-in-2019
Bree Hill
Jul 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"how can I talk about my grandmother without also mentioning that if everyone is a teen girl, then so are the birds, their soaring cliques, their squawking throats, and the sea, of course, the sea, its moody push and pull, the way we drill into it, fill it with our trash, take and take and take from it and still it holds up each time we walk into it. "

Five heartbreakingly beautiful stars. This collection of poetry is hauntingly stunning. A well crafted cautionary tale from a poetess that is a co
Misian Taylor
May 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I've read, pfft, hundreds of books of poetry in this blessed lil life and none of them made me feel riotously proud to have been a teenage girl. In the book, Gatwood is working through the rational terror of having a body the world thinks is theirs. These poems mirrored, validated, explored, and transformed so much anxiety and fear I have felt -- as a tomboy kid, a teenage girl, and as a genderqueer adult working through persistent internalized femmephobia. I identify as gnc a ...more
May 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was one of the best books of poetry I have ever read. It was a brilliant exploration of society's fascination with murder and the stories of victims, as well as being part memoir. I want everyone to read this.
May 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is the book that Dead Girls wanted to be, but much more powerful.
Diana Iozzia (Bookworm Banter)
“Life of The Party”
Written by Olivia Gatwood
Reviewed by Diana Iozzia

I’ve found it. A fantastic book of poetry that hit every expectation, that I found relatable, and that I found to be interesting and especially thought-provoking. Olivia Gatwood’s poetry is very feministic, showing the darker sides of being a woman and / or a female in today’s world. This poetry felt very realistic and absolutely challenged many of my conservative opinions. I also felt that Gatwood has a way of explaining someth
Hana  (Lady Bibliotaph)
Jun 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, faves
Read my full review here!

"Maybe I am tired
of hearing people talk about the murder
of girls like it is both beautiful
and out of the ordinary."

-My grandmother asks why I don't trust men

This collection, inspired by True Crime, and part memoir, made me feel so many different things.
I honestly and truly enjoyed every single poem in this book. I loved how she sometimes changed up the format of her poems, rather than having them each be the same formula. It kept it interesting.
Not only was it a subject
Rachel Elizabeth
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I think I waited an eternity for this book to be released, and it was so worth it. Gatwood clearly masters translating true crime and fear to poetry, while revealing the intimate nature of girlhood and obsession.

Highly recommend this book, or her previous collection.
Aug 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 10, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

LIFE OF THE PARTY by Olivia Gatwood is a collection of poems inspired by the author’s own life experiences, as well as true crimes and violence against women. While reviewing any piece of literature is difficult, I find poetry even more difficult, as it is such an extremely intimate creation. If I were forced to pick but two words to describe Gatwood’s collection, it would be hauntingly beautiful, or perhaps disturbingly beautiful.

Gatwood is an immensely talented writer with the ability to take
Breana Menzel
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: power-women
Pink lip and powdered nose in the casket / a dozen sobbing men in stiff suits / yes, even then, we are girls / especially then, we are girls / silent and dead and still / the life of the party”

I’ve been a big Gatwood fan, obsessing over her online presence and readings. However I didn’t know she’d released a new book until I saw it in a bookstore.
My first impression of the cover and title led with disappointment. While pleasing to look at, I thought of Gatwood as unique from aesthetically pleas
Anne-Marie Chicoine
Aug 26, 2019 rated it liked it
(disclaimer : i am not a big reader of poetry)
this collection has some of the most beautiful poems i've ever read - 'ode to my lover's left hand' hello????? how can language even do things like that? i've loved olivia for a few years now, i think she's a brillant writer, outstanding performer, very funny in her podcast. theorically, i love a thematically cohesive poetry book and the narrative construction of life of the party was definitely one of its stronger points. however, i really didn't c
Becca (Coffeebooksandjournals)
was expecting more from this book then what there was. I did relate to some of the lines in the poems in this collection. I didn't feel connected to it like i do with other poetry which is important to me. I feel that the poetry that I connect with is the ones that I enjoy more and stay with me. The poems that I don't connect with I usually don't remember that much. I do like this style of poems just these weren't for me, I guess.
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This poetry collection made me squirm. It made me feel uncomfortable. I had to put it down and pick it back up. My heart dropped into my stomach and stayed there and I still feel a bit sick.

Olivia Gatwood wrote a collection so good it made me flinch while reading a poem that felt like maybe it was modelled after my life.

Not a collection for the faint of heart perhaps. But a beautiful example of words affecting their readers.

Aug 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Oh my god. This poetry collection is one of the best I have ever read. It’s about sexual violence and the aftermath and I truly felt all of the emotions ( mostly heartbreak). I recommend this to all female presenting people! Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an early copy of this wonderful poetry collection!
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: trigger
This was by far the biggest trigger ever for a book because it's entirely about women and sexual assault with a female serial killer twist now I understand so much more but definitely recommend time and time again just know "rape" is a huge factor in alot of these poems but not as strongly and straight forward.
Jul 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this beautiful collection of poetry. While I was reading the collection I felt as if I knew the author and how she felt every step of the way. The writing style was absolutely amazing and was very well composed. Anything she writes I will read solely because of how impactful this collection was. Absolutely beautiful!
Aug 30, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
3.5 stars
Jul 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
I was drawn to the subject matter of growing up and the everyday traumas we experience as women, which Gatwood clearly addresses.
However, these are more journal entries or stream of consciousness reflections than poems, which weakened the potential impact this writing could have had.
May 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways-won
I was lucky enough to win a giveaway for Life Of The Party. It is a powerful and forward-thinking look at the idea of being a victim. Some of the most impactful poetry I've read.
Sara D
Jul 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-hundred
What a book of poetry this is! Olivia Gatwood's writing brings you back to all those moments in your life, as a child, as an adolescent, as a young adult. You see yourself again in those moments. Moments of innocence and youth and carefree and uninhibited. And then. And then you see them through a filter of sexism and betrayal and violence and abuse and trauma, both overt and covert. Written so accessibly, so vividly, so emotionally. A book not to be missed.

Thank you to netgalley and Random Hous
Utterly beautiful, heartbreaking, and poignant. Full RTC.
Moriah Conant
May 26, 2019 rated it liked it
DNF at 24 pages.

While the book seemed to be decent, I was not aware of the amount of violence against women that would be chronicled in the book. It was too triggering for me to read at this point in my life.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
May 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs, 2019
I was excited to see that Life of the Party was available on Netgalley, as I was looking forward to its release I enjoyed this collection more than New American Best Friend. I especially loved the author’s note in the beginning which introduced the premise that true crime tends to focus on the cases that present as anomalies where women are attacked or murdered by men who were complete strangers before the crime. In fact, women are much more likely to be attacked and killed by men they know inti ...more
Incredible. Wow. It’s been a while since I’ve read something that produced such a visceral reaction in me I haven’t been able to sum up my thoughts about it. It’s also been a while since I related so deeply to the rawness and beauty that exist both in Olivia Gatwood’s words but in the feelings behind them. Wow. For fellow deathlings and feminists, this book is an essential read, and I’m so glad I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy via NetGalley. It’s just breathtaking. Absolutely incre ...more
Nathaniel Darkish
May 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A powerful, biting poetry collection about violence against women and the messed up ways society romanticizes it. Definitely going to be picking up more of Gatwood's poetry in the future-- she's one of the strongest poetic voice I've ever read.
May 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Law & Order: SVU meets the Button Poetry YouTube channel

(Full disclosure: I received a free e-ARC for review through NetGalley. Trigger warning for violence against women, including rape.)

If you have a son, how will you love him?
She is pacing the living room,
while the Thanksgiving Day Parade
plays behind her, a montage of inflated
cartoon bodies, floating slow
down 6th Avenue, smiles
painted onto their faces.

I consider not responding.
I consider explaining that I can love him and not trus
Rachel Skye
I wanted to make a note on this collection prior to my review. This collection can be triggering. Adding a trigger warning for my friends and followers: rape, violence, drugs/overdose, etc.

Life of the Party by Olivia Gatwood is a visceral collection that explores societies overall fascination with true crime, specifically violence against women. In her introduction to the collection, Gatwood notes that she wants to honor the women, not sensationalize them. She holds true to that statement. She
I read this collection over the span of about a week because there was so much to it. It's not exactly a short collection - my edition was about 70 pages, but each of the poems is pretty long - so that was one of the reasons. The main reason, though, is that the subject matter is just so serious and dark.

The gist of the collection is explained in the introduction. It's not something you should skip; the introduction sets the stage for the rest of the book and Olivia Gatwood is just as good at w
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“Reader, I cannot promise you will be less afraid when you finish this book, but I hope you will feel more able to name what lives inside you.” 2 likes
“I want to know
what it means to survive
does it just mean
I get to keep my body?”
More quotes…