A teenage girl uses writing to heal from sexual assault and depression in this collection of poems in four parts.
Kaufman, who has an active presence on Instagram as @poeticpoison, dedicates her book to “anyone terrified that it won’t get better.” In Part 1, the narrator is in full crisis mode, searching online for the suicide hotline and answers to questions about depression and anxiety: “I am going stir crazy / inside my skull, / peeling off the wallpaper / with short, bitten nails.” In Part 2, the narrator describes writing as a way to find herself and face what happened to her (“I said I guess, I said / I’m scared, I said if you want to, I said I don’t / think I can do this”). She ponders what her diagnosis of depression and anxiety means for future relationships. In Part 3, she has more help and support: “the wounds have healed / and the scars are fading.” Her emergence from depression (“the sadness isn’t as / comforting as it used to be”) is perhaps most poignant. In Part 4, she speaks of therapy and medication and ends with self-love and the beauty of survival. Debut author Kaufman’s voice is authentic, and her experiences, feelings, and journey toward healing are convincing. Black-and-white illustrations enhance the text.
This book could be a lifeline for survivors and provide insight for others. (Poetry. 13-18)