Provocative with purpose: A review of ‘She’s not normal’ by Koraly Dimitriadis

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Welcome to the mind of Koraly Dimitriadis, a spirited Cypriot Australian writer and performer who calls out almost everything through the lens of an “angry Greek girl” in her latest book ‘She’s not normal.’

Provocative, with a special purpose, Dimitriadis delivers her poetry in a style that revives the importance of rawness in writing, and without a doubt, causes a few jaws to drop along the way.

Boundary-pushing and erupting off the pages, each and every poem in the ‘She’s not normal’ collection takes readers on a journey of a “white wog” attempting to live out “the Australian dream,” straight from Dimitriadis’ “Cypriot heart.”

Through her poems, she boldly urges readers to really sit with the uncomfortable, laugh a little, and begs the question of what actually is “normal” in today’s society.

Dimitriadis strips herself of the cultural apron that she was dressed in since birth, breaking “out of the box” weighed down by expectations to “go back to the kitchen and make a souvlaki.”

Exposing the Turkish government as the “spoilt child who wants and still wants,” while delving deeper into the flaws of Australia’s “capitalist system” where “security is an illusion,” she invites readers to protest against the patriarchy, and redefine their sense of trust in the power dynamics present between world leaders and the greater community.

Those who aren’t migrants will even be encouraged to wonder if they truly feel safe, stable, and at home within themselves. This exemplifies the true purpose of the book – Dimitriadis’ quest for belonging.

In a diary-entry like series of confessions crossed with late night drunken deep and meaningfuls with someone you’ve just met at a bar, she lets her walls down as she takes a “drink from the vein of Melbourne’s melody,” reflecting on the financial demands placed on Victorian performers and venues before diving further into the waters of womanhood, sexuality, and breaking free from religious shackles.

The female body is depicted as an endless canvass of transformation and sometimes erotic exploration, while being restrained to the needs and desires of men. She condemns the societal expectations that women must have a man to feel validated, and poetically illustrates her stance on relationships by smashing the “memories of the past” on the “grave of her first love” – “I’ll be my own husband,” she says.

Ranging from despair to pleasure, sometimes all in the same sentence, all themes present become intertwined in a loud, literary landmine of words that demand the attention of the reader through every twist and turn. As Dimitriadis points out, “the future is as unpredictable as me.”
Overall, her tone dances between a misunderstood artist – “my poetry is homeless” – and an empowered woman who is unabashedly herself, with sporadic spurts of capitals, exclamation points, and annotations to accentuate a concoction of radical realisations and personal revelations.

Some poems even help us to catch a more intimate glimpse into her sensitivity, with brief expressions of family love – especially for her daughter – through the eyes of a single mum.

Reading between the lines, it is clear she simply wants to be understood. She wants to break free and wants others, especially women, to break free, too. The concept of loneliness is revisited more than once, showcasing that the pursuit of true freedom can often feel isolating before it liberates the soul.

Page by page, through the light and the dark, ‘She’s Not Normal’ unpacks the ‘She,’ the ‘Not,’ and the ‘Normal’ through honesty and transparency, acting as a definitive reminder that nobody else will love you until you love yourself, and that “shit days” are just a “part of the human condition.”

And whether anyone likes it or not, Dimitriadis will not abandon her art as it is clearer than ever, she belongs to these words, her words, where she is “finally free to be ME.”

PURCHASE THE BOOK HERE

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