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  • Writer's pictureMarías at Sampaguitas

Review by Rickey Rivers Jr.

Review Another Final Girl – Vanessa Maki

This is my second chapbook exposure to the writing of Vanessa Maki. This collection of work mixes horror and trauma, the after, equating the experience of the final girl in a slasher film to that of surviving real life trauma, a merge for those who appreciate poetry and horror alike.

"…so we can be poster girls for survival."

Survive is the theme worn proudly by its heroine. This read hits the pain of being a final girl, one who is told of strength after and yet is never given the care.

"How did she survive to the end credits?"

The author shows a kinship with other heroines such as Laurie Strode and Sidney Prescott, at the same time she laments of not being like other final girls, wondering how she even survived in the first place. A harrowing thought to think is you as a person not being worthy of your own life.

A creeping fear is present throughout. The traditional final girl label tossed away, the societal thought of only certain women deemed worthy. The author speaks of strength said to survivors but what happens when the survivor finds have strength difficult? Having to deal with the aftermath of it all? Being a final girl isn't glamorous.

"I run so fast / in my mind / when the thoughts / become too much /"

The ever-present slashes above repeat throughout, highlighting the theme of the heroine's reality shaken in the present. The author gives thought to the idea of escaping into the mind to breathe easier, running away from the killer, the trauma, into a personal human made shell, the mind's protection only lasting for so long.

"There's never not any damages"

The idea of being regular after and wondering what even is regular is spoken about in the piece "wounds" It is a thought that makes as much sense as anything considering the chaos of the world.

In the end we see that the final girl label is not one that the heroine has given herself. It's instead one given to her. The normalcy, the idea of it all buried with the past.

This is a welcome addition for any fan of the slasher genre, horror and poetry in general. There's pain here, plenty, but it's worth seeing the chap through to the end. This is a short read, no fat, all meat, and it's bloody, hanging off the skin of a poet, one who dares to give a peak into the mind of a final girl.

Another Final Girl is available for purchase now:

Rickey Rivers Jr. (he/him) was born and raised in Alabama. He is a writer and cancer survivor. His work has appeared in various publications. / His second mini collection of 3x3 poems is available here:

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