Chapbook Review, “Choose Your Own Adventure,’ By Caroline Simpson

32 pages, $14.99
Finishing Line Press
ISBN 978-1-63534-689-3
Available at and
Submitted by Ryn Holmes, June 2019

For a novel and humorous take on that old, old story, male and female, one must jump in and sail away to the Galapagos Islands. It is there that Caroline Simpson cleverly draws upon the courting behavior of its native life to provide us with an analogy of both touching and ridiculous human romance in seven chapters of narrative poetry form.

As she compares and contrasts our behavior with such wild life as that of blue-footed boobies, frigate birds, giant tortoises, etc., the writer also links them by offering options; if the courtship style of one creature doesn’t suit your needs, jump backwards or forwards to a different poem and try out something else. Intriguingly, the seventh and final “chapter” relates the seductive behavior between an Ecuadorian sailor and a single American woman aboard a cruise ship bound for the Galapagos Islands. They try out many actions, such as various facial movements, touch, language, etc., to draw in each other with success.

She rounds out the chapbook with poems that continue the dance between men and women while still utilizing animal life in the opposite of anthropomorphizing, In “The Scent of a Man,” she effectively relates her interactions in various scent, becomes a snail in “A Snail’s Life,” youthful in “The Fawn,” and so on, wrapping it all up in the graceful, “Love Story.” Ms. Simpson’s language is provocative, approachable and well-suited to the topic and the “primitive” life of the Islands.

Simpson Headshot

Caroline N. Simpson teaches English at the Tatnall School, Wilmington, DE. Her poetry and nonfiction have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and she won Honorable Mention in Hot Street’s 2013 Emerging Writers Contest. Her chapbook, Choose Your Own Adventure and Other Poems, was published by Finishing Line Press in October 2018. 


For additional chapbook reviews, please visit: Previous Chapbook Reviews

2 thoughts on “Chapbook Review, “Choose Your Own Adventure,’ By Caroline Simpson

  1. Thank you for taking chapbooks seriously enough to review these. Too often only full-length collections get the spotlight. I just reviewed a bi-lingual chapbook [publisher: Toad Press] for a European zine.
    In a few months, my chapbook “Concupiscent Consumption” will be released by Red Ferret Press.
    What’s the best way to get a copy on your desk? Thanks!


    • Thanks for the note! Our next chap book review will be in the autumn. Probably in late August we’ll post a request for MS. You would then email the MS to one of our reviewers. Sorry to be so vague, but that’s the process. We publish reviews about midway between Issues. Please continue to follow our site and/or our FB page. Best wishes, Jeff (Congrats on your chap book!)


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