Review: All The Words I Should Have Said by Rania Naim

I was ecstatic to give this poetry collection a go, thanks to that vibrant cover attracting my immediate attention. But I was ultimately disappointed to learn that the themes being explored weren’t the ones I was expecting. The blurb promises to dive into “the thrills of love, the highs and lows of life, and the challenges of new beginnings.” It’s safe to say, however, that All The Words I Should Have Said is mainly just about love, which is fine if that’s all you’re looking for.

Personally, I went into this excited to explore topics of insecurities, loneliness, and failures in life; not in relationships. And the low-key theme of cheating was another guaranteed way for me to dislike the book. I kept waiting for themes of change, growth, opportunities, and redemption to appear in the collection, but the story left me cold.

On a more positive note, there were still a few bright points in here that left me hopeful for more to appear:

TIMING

“Maybe we meet the right people at the wrong time
because we wasted the right time with the wrong people”

I liked the above because it made me think of this quote I recently read and resonated with deeply: the people we meet at the wrong time are actually just the wrong people. 

DEAR GOD

“Dear God,
They say that you give burdens
to those you love
but sometimes I feel
that you must love me too much

Dear God,
They say that you want me to be patient
but sometimes I wonder
how long do I have to wait
for a miracle to save me?

Dear God,
They say you always remember
the ones who pray to you
but lately I’ve been feeling
that maybe you’ve forgotten
about my prayers and about me

Dear God,
They say you’re always listening
but sometimes I feel like you can’t hear me
they say you’re in every corner
but sometimes I can’t find you

Dear God,
If you wanted me to make art
out of my pain
I’ve already created a masterpiece
when are you going to buy it?”

I KNOW YOU’RE TIRED

“You’re tired of pretending you’re okay
you’re tired of saying there is nothing wrong with you when there is
you’re tired of having to lie to people about what’s going on
and you’re tired of pretending to be strong and smiling
when all you want to do is cry
you wish you could just let everyone know what’s
wrong with you
so they can leave you alone
but you know that’s not possible
and you’re tired of living another day
pretending that you’re not tired at all”

This is something that Sana Bakkoush, my favorite from the tv series Skam, needs to hear with everything that’s been accumulating over the past few days.

MILLION-DOLLAR QUESTIONS

“Who do you run to when you’re the one everyone runs to?
Who do you run to when the one you really want to run to
is running away from you?
Who do you run to when you want to run away
from yourself?”

MOTHER

“I roamed the world
looking for happiness and heaven
only to find them
in your loving arms”


All in all, I’d say that though there were a handful of promising poems, All The Words I Should Have Said ultimately failed in capturing my full attention.

2.5/5 stars

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying All The Words I Should Have Said, just click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!

Review: What We Buried by Caitlyn Siehl

“You are not Atlas and the world is not a burden for you to carry.” 

I’ve seen this poetry collection a number of times online, but had no idea what to expect until I opened the book and was instantly enchanted by the second poem titled “Three Questions.” And since I can’t narrow it down to just one quote – I’m in love with the whole of it and how each line adds something more – I’ve decided to share the full poem:

“My mother tells me
that when I meet someone I like,
I have to ask them three questions:

1. what are you afraid of?
2. do you like dogs?
3. what do you do when it rains?

of those three, she says the first one is the most important.
“They gotta be scared of something, baby. Everybody is. If they aren’t afraid of anything, then they don’t believe in anything, either.”I asked you what you were afraid of.
“spiders, mostly. being alone. little children, like, the ones who just learned how to push a kid over on the playground. oh and space. holy shit, space.” 
I asked you if you liked dogs.
“I have three.”
I asked you what you do when it rains.
“sleep, mostly. sometimes I sit at the window and watch the rain droplets race. I make a shelter out of plastic in my backyard for all the stray animals; leave them food and a place to sleep.”
he smiled like he knew.
like his mom told him the same 
thing.
“how about you?”

me?
I’m scared of everything.
of the hole in the o-zone layer,
of the lady next door who never
smiles at her dog,
and especially of all the secrets 
the government must be breaking
it’s back trying to keep from us.
I love dogs so much, you have no idea.
I sleep when it rains.
I want to tell everyone I love them.
I want to find every stray animal and bring them home.
I want to wake up in your hair
and make you shitty coffee
and kiss your neck
and draw silly stick figures of us.
I never want to ask anyone else
these questions
ever again.”

Naturally after that I went on with quite high expectations that were for the most part met. The pieces after the above, though, focused heavily on love and heartbreak and “I’m in love with the shape of you” style poems, which I wasn’t really feeling… Also, poems like “Do not fall in love with people like me” set my mood from 100 to 0 real quick.

But just when I was starting to worry that this collection was going to be all about relationships and their aftermath, the narrative shifted to center on feelings of strength with feminist undertones, and I was all the more enraptured. Here are a few of those:

What We Buried 1-- bookspoils

 

What We Buried 2-- bookspoils

 

What We Buried 3-- bookspoils

 

What We Buried 4-- bookspoils


In the end, I was won over by the sheer power I felt while reading about the ineffable strength and endurance, suffering and survival that was explored in What We Buried.

“We survive by surviving.
We do it unconsciously,
the way our bodies remember to
breathe, even when we’re asleep.
The first step is always deciding
to take the first step.”

Also, I listened to this groundbreaking song on repeat while reading, thanks to the most recent Skam clip that’s been utterly and completely carved into my heart:

3.5/5 stars

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying What We Buried, just click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!

Review: This Impossible Light by Lily Myers

From the YouTube slam poetry star of “Shrinking Women” (more than 5 million views!) comes a novel in verse about body image, eating disorders, self-worth, mothers and daughters, and the psychological scars we inherit from our parents.

I’ve listened to Myers slam poem countless times in the past, so I was beyond ecstatic to see her name grace the cover of this novel in verse. And just like her spoken word hit me harder than I expected, so did This Impossible Light.

The story begins with Ivy starting her sophomore year of high school after a hard-hitting summer where everything changed in her life: her parents’ divorce, her older brother, Sky, moving out, her best friend, Anna, being back from her three-month visit in Paris, but still feeling miles away.

Hoping for a fresh start with the new school year, Ivy quickly discovers that things aren’t always as simple as they seem. And with so many things in life being out of her control, Ivy decides to take hold of the one thing she can dictate: her body.

“If I tell you,
will you listen?”

This powerful exploration of body image, depression, eating disorders, loneliness is guaranteed to stay in my memory for a long, long time to come. Its relentless truth felt like a much-needed and healing read for my past self.

And as always, my favorite show, Skam, was brought to mind with the mentions of these topics. But with this book I just wished we could’ve gotten a similar scene as the one of Vilde and Noora noticing and supporting one other through their struggles in season two:

Also, this:

Our main character was drifting away from everyone and rarely speaking, and it physically hurt me to see her go through all of it alone. Which reminds me of another fitting quote from the aforementioned TV series: tumblr_oj701nqbcs1vlgbnoo6_r1_400Lily Myers takes notices of the small pains and little lonelinesses I’ve felt so strongly in the past, and it really shook me to my core to experience them now through Ivy. Also, the top-notch writing and poetry in this book was utterly phenomenal, and I just want to shout it from the rooftops. But for now, I’ll settle with sharing some of my favorite bits and pieces in here:

This Impossible Light 1-- bookspoils

 

This Impossible Light 2-- bookspoils

 

This Impossible Light 3-- bookspoilsThis really hit me hard.

This Impossible Light 4-- bookspoils

 

This Impossible Light 5-- bookspoils

 

This Impossible Light 6-- bookspoils

 

This Impossible Light 7-- bookspoils


All in all: This was a surprising read for me since I wasn’t expecting to love so damn much about it, like the fact that it focused solely on Ivy’s journey without adding any unnecessary romances into it. And the fact that we got to see her process towards recovery with the help of family and friends. Plus, it was a quick read because of the poetry format. I was mesmerized, to say the least.

ARC kindly provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Expected publication: June 6th, 2017

5/5 stars

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying This Impossible Light, just click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!