I picked up this little book on a whim the other night while bookshopping at Barnes and Noble and I'm so very glad that I did. I was originally drawn to it because of the cover illustration which reminded me quite a bit of Nicole Castellucci's illustrations, but I found that this book was entirely designed by Lang Leav, illustrations and all.
Love & Misadventure is a book of love poems and short prose accompanied with quite beautiful illustrations by the author. When I first flipped through the book, I have to admit that I wasn't drawn in immediately. The poems are all quite short and at first glance, they seemed quite juvenille, yet the more I read them, the more I fell in love. The charm, and sometimes the heartbreak, of her poetry is in the simplicity of her poems. Often in just a few lines she's able to pack quite the metaphorical punch. And it's in that simplicity which makes the poems all the more powerful. They are something that anyone who has been in love can relate to.
Leav takes us on a journey with her, dividing the collection into three sections. The first section finds her falling in love with a guy from a distance, aching to be with him, the second finds her in a relationship with him, and finding that there are moments of pure beauty, yet moments of complete imperfection too as all relationships have. And then there's the final section which is a bit of a mashup of looking back on a relationship lost and reflecting on being in a relationship still. I'm unsure if this is a new relationship or not.
But there's beauty, even in the pain of this collection. Here's a piece of prose that I absolutely loved that captured a recent relationship of mine pretty well I think....a relationship that I wouldn't trade for the world, yet it's a piece that takes a very honest person to write:
As a kid, I would count backwards from ten and imagine at one, there would be an explosion - perhaps caused by a rogue planet crashing into Earth or some other major catastrophe. When nothing happened, I'd feel relieved and at the same time, a little disappointed.
I think of you at ten; the first time I saw you. Your smile at nine and how it liut up something inside me I had thought long dead. Your lips at eight pressed against mine and at seven, your warm breath in my ear and your hands everywhere. You tell me you love me at seix and at five we have our first real fight. At four we have our second and three, our third. At two you tell me you can't go on any longer and then at one, you ask me to stay.
And I am relieved, so relieved - and a little disappointed.
Not every piece in this collection is so bleak, but they're all just as honest and just as beautiful. A collection that looks at all of the different aspects of love. Very highly recommended if you're looking for a unique book of poetry that's not too heavy, yet full of thoughtful insights. Beautifully designed too.