Friday, January 8, 2016

[Blog Tour] REVIEW: Paradise Drive

Today I'm gonna be sharing with you all something new. I've always loved poetry, and upon discovering that there's a blog tour by Poetic Book Tours for a Sonnet collection this January, I immediately signed up for it!

You can follow the Tour here:

January 1: Eva Lucia (review)
January 5: Everything Distils Into Reading (review)
January 6: Jorie Loves a Story (review)
January 7: I’d Rather Be at the Beach (review)
January 9: Eccentric Everything (review)
January 11: Musings of a Bookish Kitty (review)
January 13: Diary of an Eccentric (Video post)
January 15: True Book Addict (review)
January 20: I’m Lost in Books (video post)
January 25: Emma Eden Ramos (review)
January 26: Bookgirl’s Nightstand (video post)
January 27: Necromancy Never Pays (review)
January 28: Suko’s Notebook (review)
January 30: Create With Joy (review)
January 30: Absurd Book Nerd (review)

Title: Paradise Drive
Author: Rebecca Foust
Number of Pages: 114 (TBP)
Publication Date: April 24, 2015
Publisher: Press53


Paradise Drive links 80 sonnets in a narrative about a modern Pilgrim on a journey from rust belt Pennsylvania to the glittering suburbs of Marin County, California. The book takes great pleasure in questioning, tinkering with, and ultimately exploding the sonnet form. It has been well received, with more than 50 reviews and features since its release last April. Rumpus and the Washington Review of Books included it in their National Poetry Month picks.


This is the first time I've ever finished a work written completely in poetry, and to review one at that. Paradise Drive is about Pilgrim, a woman who seeks to find herself by traveling from Pennsylvania to Marin County, California. It mixes elements of avant garde writing as well as structured styles. The book in itself intends to convey one flowing message, and it did so for me. Pilgrim underwent a lot of troubles in her life involving her husband and children, as well as her parents' deaths.

Pilgrim's journey was exhilarating yet enlightening at the same time. She realized things beyond her ken, and managed these with grace and exuberance. I felt the losses and sufferings that she endured. Her ending wasn't something I'd call as glamorous as Marin County, but the plot descended swiftly and gracefully. The last sonnet, "Preparation for Pirouette" was full of meaning and context. Yes, I still had some questions, but it being the conclusion isn't a bad move at all.

This collection of Sonnets highlights some references to modern culture. Drugs (or meds, if you must), car parking, parties, and sexuality, to name a few. Of course, there were also allusions to other works of literature (I liked the Deadly Sins most).

For me, poetry is mysterious. Especially in sonnets. The reader decides on which take he/she will impose on that piece. This is something that I found to be distracting while reading the book. I feel that I have different interpretations on some of the sonnets. And it bothers me slightly, because what if my take is too far-off from what the author wants to say? The diction employed by the author also astounded me, as it exemplifies the usage of words from French slang, and as I have said earlier, references to literature.

And lastly, the words. I feel that I have a connection with how Rebecca crafted the poems. The technique used was in my taste, and I liked how the vowels worked in order to give off an illusion of flow. The breaks were also utilized in a smart manner, giving ample space for the reader to rest, and to give emphasis on the important parts of the sonnet. 

Overall, Paradise Drive is a really great novel if you're into poetry and/or Sonnets. It's mysterious and you might want to read some lines multiple times. The concept is spot-on with more than enough imagery, and I think that this work is a great representative of Modern Poetry.


The book was filled with wonderful ideas and concepts. However, I had a little trouble figuring out the best interpretation for some of the poems, as it has been my personal habit to interpret the poem with full attention and intention. With this, I give Paradise Drive four grenades!

About the Author:

Rebecca Foust was the 2014 Dartmouth Poet in Residence and is the recipient of fellowships from The Frost Place, the MacDowell Colony, and the Sewanee Writer’s Conference Her fifth book, Paradise Drive, won the 2015 Press 53 Award for Poetry. Her other books include All That Gorgeous Pitiless Song (Many Mountains Moving Prize), God, Seed (Foreword Book of the Year Award) and two chapbooks that won the Robert Phillips Chapbook Prizes in 2008 and 2009. Foust’s poems appear widely in journals including American Academy of Poets Poem-A-Day series, Hudson Review, Massachusetts Review, Poetry Daily, Sewanee Review, and Verse Daily. A first generation college graduate, Foust attended Smith College (BA 1979), Stanford Law School (1979), and Warren Wilson College (MFA 2010). She has won the 2015 American Literary Review Creative Writing Award for Fiction judged by Garth Greenwell and the 2015 James Heart Poetry Prize judged by Jane Hirshfield. She lives in Northern California and works as Poetry Editor for Women’s Voices for Change and assistant editor for Narrative Magazine. 

That's it for today's post! Comment below if you also love poetry, and are intrigued by this work!

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