Review: The Mirror Season - Anna-Marie McLemore
Genre: Magical Realism Published: Feiwel & Friends, March 2021 My Rating: 5/5 stars
"People want to lose things on their own terms, not when the night steals them away"
This book... This book shattered me like a dropped piece of mirrored glass, and then gave me the hope and the reminder that broken things will always be able to catch the light...
Imbued with elements of magical realism and written in the lyrical voice that is their signature, McLemore tells the story of a boy and a girl who are sexually assaulted at the same party. They develop a cautious friendship and navigate their way through the healing-journey that follows their ordeal. That journey takes them through her family's magical pastelería, his secret forest of otherworldly trees, anatomically correct hand-puppets and a ceiling filled with condom-balloons…
If I were to critique this book “technically” it would be a very short review: take any of the positive things I said in my reviews on AM’s previous books and apply them to this one. All are true: stunning lyrical writing, a raw and unflinching portrayal of hard hitting topic combined with magical elements that somehow feel “more real that reality”, and deep and complex protagonists will stay with you for a long time…
When it comes to structure, pacing, motifs and metaphors, and tone; I genuinely have nothing to add. As a book, it’s “technically perfect”, as far as I can tell.
That brings me to the more important part however: The Mirror Season was clearly more than just a book to AM themselves. They reveal as much in their epilogue, but it’s also evident through every word on these pages. This book is a journey of healing, a triumph of survival and a powerful take back of control that was crudely stripped away. It’s a reminder that love cannot“fix” you, but you do have the power to fix yourself, and loved ones can support you, and make that battle easier to bear.
I won’t pretend to relate or fully comprehend AM’s experiences, but I truly hope this book has brought her healing. What I can say is that it has brought a little bit of healing to me. AM passed that little shard of reflective glass on, and refracted its light out into the world. Regardless of the kind, the age or the depth of the trauma you may have: I hope that light finds you too.
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