Book Review: “Girls Like You” (2015)

“Girls Like You” by Margot Douaihy (Clemson University Press, 2015) is a collection of poetry and poetry-styled short prose. It is deceptively lighthearted, or whimsically serious—or both, and full of surprises.

What at first glance appears to the reader as an interesting collection of unrelated yet uniquely perceptive observations, gradually emerges as a wholesome work of integrity. Despite the variety of styles and modulations of voice, there is a theme here, distinguished by a keen eye and a sense of humor about the serious business of living.

Take, for example, the welcoming piece (an initiation for the unwary reader), with “Maidservant.” It’s not until one is halfway down the poem when ominous words hint at danger. ‘His skin tore easily as he tangled the sheets,’ yet ending with ‘How I wish I could be as pure as darkness, taking whatever it wants.’ (Disclosure: A poster of Gustav Klimt’s ‘Judith’ has looked down for over two decades from the office wall of this reviewer.)

As with all good poetry collections, the fun is in searching for the gems that glow most brightly for one’s eyes, or that most clearly reveal the poet’s mindset. The title poem, “Girls Like You,” perhaps gives away the store with one-half sentence: ‘—the danger of defining nature.’ Fittingly, this work explores timely human and social issue of today, such as relationships, passions, gender choices, homosexuality, and even marriage—as in the poem “Wife” that posits: ‘Wife means your, mine. Two lives find tune, like jasmine on one vine.’ Now, think about it.

The writer’s style is not only approachable, word-playful and full of descriptive richness, but the presentation also adds an occasional visual catch. Take a look at the poems “Rock” and “Neither,” which are placed on the page with an added graphic twist. It is a contemporary creation, very much of out times, as in “Text me,” which is how the previous generation would have said: “Talk to me.”

To fellow writers, “Wax” would speak volumes: ‘What if we never edited, revised?’ Yes, what if.

And to philosophers, “My Money” would bring a pause: ‘My money is on Sisyphus. Sure, the hill is high & rock is heavy, but look at those arms.’ Yes, look!

Especially intriguing are the writer’s observations about the physical aspects of a relationship and its natural flow from beginning to last base. ‘I went first; Your lips so cold; You didn’t blink, looked so serious, like you wanted, to cry.’ (“First Time”) And on to: ‘I ride her hard, though one inch to the left or right would be fatal.’ (“Modern Woman”) Now, catch your breath and think about that!

In summary, with this irrepressible combination of reflections, emotions, and observations about life, Margot Douaihy composed a wonderful volume of creative and memorable pieces that fit together and make you turn the pages, knowing that you will be surprised again when you look at the next page. Excellent!

Avraham Azrieli writes novels and screenplays. His website is: