I was touched to have Annabel reach out to me to read her poetry books – Journey into the Dark and the Light & Journey into the Shadow and the Sunshine. Having never done a book review on my blog, it was an honor to do this for a fellow poet. Plus, getting out of my day-to-day routine to try something new is good for me. I felt up to it with my current schedule, and more importantly, enthusiastic in providing one for her.
The titles and prefaces of both books immediately set the tone; you know you are going on an emotional journey with Anna as she recounts and confronts the darkness in her childhood. While the subject matter is a difficult topic, her superb writing continually has you standing with her, however painful it might have been to deal with. The honesty reflected endears you to her with each piece, then championing her success in the latter chapters of each book. The first part recounts the aftermath of the abuse, while the second part speaks to recovery and hope. All of humanity can identify with tragic circumstances and having hope; that is life! In her words and art, these books reinforce the idea that we can all overcome our adversities. It may take some time, but clarity does come if we face it.
After finishing the first book and immediately devouring the second, it was plain to see that they are both about courage. Whether subconsciously through the artwork Anna immersed herself in or how she expressed her feelings, it was courage that enabled her to bring her past to the forefront. It pushed her to confront all the trauma endured during her most innocent of times. In these books, Anna shows us the necessary steps she took to understand what she ultimately came face to face with—being taken advantage of, misused, and abused in her childhood. No one should have to experience these things during this most vulnerable and innocent state, but she did, bravely. In doing so, she propelled herself toward a life relieved of the depression and the nagging lack of connection she had felt in her childhood and beyond. Annabel was filled with hope and a changed outlook. These books are a testament to what addressing the somber and horrific bits in our lives can do for our psyche. They share with us not only the possibility that things could get better but that we can thrive in an even happier and more stable future for having done so.
What is saddening is that in a society where this occurs too often, many readers will probably be able to identify with Annabel’s excruciatingly honest reflections, art, and thoughts, having gone through similar situations. But on the other hand, should these pages reach them, they will learn that hope is on the horizon if they can break through their trauma too. Possibly they will see their necessary healing tucked in these words and images. Ultimately, it’s a beautiful thought these books could have a pay-it-forward effect on a large segment of readers.
I’m thankful that Annabel asked me to read her books; they will stay in my thoughts for some time to come. I will likely review them often as the writing is direct, honest, and carries such depth. It’s a habit of mine to gravitate towards good writing.
I leave you with a sample of her exquisite writing. This piece is from the first book – Journey into the Dark and the Light.
Feeling Small and Lost
My inner child cries,
as my outer adult stands and watches,
unable to move,
unable to talk,
unable to assist …
even unable to scream.
How will I find my way
out of this dark labyrinth—
what others call my mind—
if I cannot
and help myself?
The road is long, and I am weary;
I am cold, and I feel old.
What will be my salvation?
Where will I find my asylum?
Surely not inside myself,
for I feel I have meagre strength
for such a
into the depths of my soul.
Yet, from within it must be.
May you be moved to read the rest of Annabel’s work! You won’t regret it. Click the links here – Journey into the Dark and the Light & Journey into the Shadow and the Sunshine. You can also find her blog HERE.