What is it about?
The World’s Wife is a collection of thirty poems by the former poet laureate, all told from the perspective of various female characters; either women who actually existed (eg, Anne Hathaway), pre-existing fictional women (eg, Medusa) or self-created women (eg, Queen Kong and Mrs Darwin). The poems range from witty to insightful, and all leave the reader’s inner feminist with a smile on her (or his) face.
Is it any good?
Like all poetry collections, there are stronger pieces and weaker pieces. Duffy paints intricate pictures and creates perfect narrative voices. Some of the poems made me laugh out loud (eg, Frau Freud, Mrs Icarus and Mrs Darwin). Others, however, left me feeling somewhat confused but, then again, that is the nature of poetry. My main criticism of the work is that most poems require contextual knowledge (eg, to understand Mrs Sisyphus you have to know the story of Sisyphus), but most of the time this can be remedied by a quick Google search – this, however, does get a little bit annoying.
How long did it take to read: four days (although this is the sort of book that you could read in one sitting if you had the mind to)
For fans of: feminism, strong female characters, Greek mythology, biting sarcasm, Jane Austen
This book tastes like: an extra strong tiramisu