Waking up to the news that Sabrina Benaim had released a poetry collection genuinely put a smile on my face this morning.
Depression & Other Magic Tricks is the debut book by Sabrina Benaim, one of the most-viewed performance poets of all time, whose poem “Explaining My Depression to My Mother” has become a cultural phenomenon with over 50 million views. Depression & Other Magic Tricks explores themes of mental health, love, and family. It is a documentation of struggle and triumph, a celebration of daily life and of living. Benaim’s wit, empathy, and gift for language produce a work of endless wonder.
I was pleased to find that her voice, both written and spoken, is so distuigished that it’s impossible not to hear it while reading. However, unlike her live slam poems where you can feel her passion translate over onto you, in Depression & Other Magic Tricks I failed to experience the same.
While reading this collection there just wasn’t ever that moment of epiphany of “YES! I can relate and understand because I feel that way too.” My attention was solely focused on trying to decipher what each poem meant and also who it’s supposed to be directed at. I never really felt like we got a solid look into the themes promised in the blurb above, rather just mentions of it. I feel like most of the pieces were more on loneliness and breakups and romance, as opposed to a sharp focus on mental health. So I repeatedly felt as if I’d missed something major upon completing each poem and like I was in way over my head with this.
Still, I’d like to include three works that sparked something indescribable in me:
Overall, though my expectations for Sabrina Benaim’s poetry collection weren’t quite met, I’m still glad I got the chance to read new works by her.
ARC kindly provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Expected publication: August 8th, 2017
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