Breathe. Breathe. by Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi

Breathe. Breathe.Breathe. Breathe. by Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Poetry and short fiction that doesn’t apologise for what it is – equal parts painful and passionate. Exploring loss, agony, misery and a slew of other hardships, this volume possesses a variety of darkness.

(WARNING: This review contains minor spoilers.)

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. I thank Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi for giving me the opportunity.

I often cringe when getting a taste of poetry, not because I necessarily dislike it, but because, like Brian Kirk confessed in the very¬†insightful foreword, I simply don’t understand it. In the past, all I was able to do was nod my head and accept that I perhaps wasn’t¬†sophisticated enough whilst the words in question just appeared to be a¬†mishmash of¬†obscurity. That’s all changed, however, as I now know that I can¬†comprehend the meaning, and I can¬†perceive the very real emotions intermingled within the¬†composition.¬†Al-Mehairi didn’t attempt to hide behind¬†convoluted words that require a dictionary, but she was very, sometimes painfully, clear on her context.

A great deal of horror saturates this book, from authentic forms of abuse, to the teasing of paranormal elements. It can be easy to let a cover fool you, especially one as bright and deceptively cheerful as this one, but believe me when I say that it explores the grim and somber.

Act One – Breathe Through FEAR
This portion included pieces of otherworldly, fantasy-esque darkness and beauty, as well as a sprinkling of more realistic topics. Most notably: The Lure of a Witch, The Society of Fireflies, Abandoned, The Heirloom, The Lighthouse Keeper’s Tale, Earl Grey Tea, The Table is Turned,¬†and Ningyo’s Misfortune¬†all¬†appealed to me in one form or another. Some led with nature being the¬†prominent theme – I found them¬†exquisite – whilst others were just downright suspenseful. One in particular, Earl Grey Tea, knocked me off guard, as I was legitimately tearing up before that very last line slapped me across the face.

Act Two – Breathe Through PAIN
Whilst the first act primarily consisted of paranormal themes, this section delved to a greater extent into the more raw and¬†sensitive matters that haunt us all. I could truly relate to some, but what was most apparent was that¬†Al-Mehairi clearly put her all into her writing, perhaps even reliving the hardest moments of her life. Most notably:¬†Silent Screams, Nature’s Salve, What Lies Beneath, Offerings to Nang Tani, Wraith of the Lonely,¬†and The Hunted¬†intrigued me.

Short Stories
The last segment showcased¬†Al-Mehairi’s ability to embrace other writing methods. I most enjoyed The Madness of the Woodpecker, Life-Giver of the Nile and Dandelion Yellow. Honestly, I feel the best was saved for last, as¬†Dandelion Yellow¬†proved to be something I won’t forget for a long time to come.

In conclusion: There’s a lot of content in this title, and all of it was thought-provoking. I may not be a¬†connoisseur of poetry, but I appreciated the heart-wrenching emotion poured into every addition, and the concluding short stories also interested me.

Notable Quote:

She had made dreams out of nightmares.

© Red Lace 2018

Goodreads ~ Twitter

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