Bang Ditto by Amber Tamblyn
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
A friend introduced me to Amber Tamblyn's poetry and I was struck by the little bit that I read and so I bought this book. I wish could say that I liked it as much as I expected to. Tamblyn--daughter of actor Russ Tamblyn and an actress in her own right--truly does have a talent with words. Nothing tired or ordinary ever makes its way into her poetry. Someone who can craft lines like "a vegan blacking out in a glass of milk", "My friends lie to me like a government" and (to a watermelon seed) "I hope you fall in love with a beautiful watering can" has something going on.
However, two things bother me about Bang Ditto. One is, she doesn't seem to have something to say that is worthy of the writing skills she has. The other is that she seems to suffer from the unearned world-weariness common to 20-somethings and especially 20-something writer types. (I know whereof I speak--I was one of them!) Her language and her imagination are plenty enough to grab a reader's attention; she doesn't need the constant mildly vulgar asides and accent on the down side. I'm not suggesting she become some kind of Pollyanna, but we've all had a hangover, Amber. It isn't really very edgy to write about it.
Because she is an actress, there are some interesting pieces having to do with Hollywood, especially the hallucinogenic "The Black Tie Warren." One day, Amber Tamblyn may blow us all away with what she can write, but that time is not yet. She already has the tools, and is worlds better than such celeb "poets" as Richard Thomas, Suzanne Somers and even Jewel, but the substance isn't quite there yet. Watch this space. Until then, don't expect more than she can yet deliver.
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