cover image What Purpose Did I Serve In Your Life

What Purpose Did I Serve In Your Life

Marie Calloway. Tyrant Books (, $19 trade paper (200p) ISBN 978-0-9850235-8-4

The Marie Calloway presented in this book is a cypher, a sex-kitten, a feminist using her own body as a laboratory; or she's a vapid internet-age narcissist. In her first book, Calloway gives us an eponymous character who is all of these things. A lot has been made of her sexual imagery and photos of her bruised body. Those moments stand in contrast to the representations of power imbalances between men and women. Marie is constantly portrayed in fragile, baby animal descriptors; she allows herself to be humiliated, to be used. With focus, Calloway's journal-like form could have become reflective, revealing the feedback loop of the internet for the hall of mirrors it is. However, sex and vanity are well-trod topics and she has few new things to say. The photo collages are mostly uninspired airings of mean things said about her. For the book's first half Marie's fragility carries the text, but her voice grows tiresome as she moves from selling sex to becoming a published author. Whether a pose or real, her fearlessness towards the page is a strength and is deeply interesting, but until Calloway finds a way to wed the writing to a deeper concept, it will remain feeling hollow. (June)