Book Review: BREATHE. BREATHE. by Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi

Reading Breathe. Breathe. was a great way to start the new year. This is a memorable collection of both poetry and short fiction. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a newbie when it comes to reading poetry; I’ve only read maybe 3 or 4 collections of poems in the past year, and I always feel a bit shaky and ignorant when it comes time to write the review. Sometimes I think maybe I’m missing the interpretation, as I’ve found myself enjoying many poems but feeling less affected by them than I do with prose. After reading this collection, I’ve changed my tune, and have come to the conclusion that it’s just a matter of finding poems that are a match for me—same as with reading a novel or short story, when you find your reading niche, everything just fits into place.

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I really enjoyed the author’s poems in this collection and loved how the book is broken into sections. The first poetry section is centered around the emotion of fear, and following that, anxiety. The latter is an emotion that I know all too well, and I found myself connecting with many of these poems. I had favorites from both poetry sections, and if I narrow it down to a top five, they are:

The Lighthouse Keeper’s Tale

-Earl Grey Tea

 -Anxiety of Darkness

 -Nature’s Salve

 -Wraith of the Lonely

The last section of this book contains five short stories, all of which I enjoyed. My absolute favorites were Life Giver of the Nile and Dandelion Yellow.

Not only did I enjoy the words within the stories and poems, I also loved that this collection contains both a foreword and afterword. I feel starry-eyed when I discover author notes of any kind in a book. For me it adds an element of deeper understanding and a stronger connection to the material. With regards to this collection, Brian Kirk said it best in his foreword, stating that the author writes with a “raw honesty”. I agree with this sentiment, as every piece in this collection felt like it was from the heart. I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with the author on social media, and have found her to be genuine and supportive to myself and others in the community. These same traits shine through in her sincere and heartfelt writing, and I’d happily read more.

 

5/5 stars

 

 

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