An often affecting book of poems about modern romance.

PAIN IN MY HEART

Relationships are a source of bitterness and occasional bliss in this collection of confessional verse.

In these 82 short poems, Daryl-Jarod addresses the failings and betrayals of his gay speakers’ boyfriends and hookups, as well as their own inner demons, in direct, plainspoken language and imagery. For example, “What About Me” memorializes a selfish lover who “only touches me when he needs release” while “All my needs appear to be obsolete”; “Fuck Boys” deplores one-night stands who “Beg for my body with no intention / Of loving my mind”; and “Hate” excoriates an irresponsible partner: “Who else but YOU would toss away the glove / And attempt to infect me with poison?” Daryl-Jarod addresses neediness in “Damn This Loneliness” (“Double texted you after no response /…Cursed myself for every attempt to feel wanted”) and waxes cynical in “The Truth About Love.” But his speaker feels the pull of exuberant carnality in “The Love Below” (“As your love below expands / …Both of us panting and weeping / Pushing our bodies to insanity / …Those three words / Rest on the tip of our tongues”) and narcotic highs in “Another Hit.” Overall, Daryl-Jarod’s poetry effectively conveys a wide range of emotions, from desolation to tenderness to ebullience. The tension between longing and disappointment prompts a declaration of independence in “Like You Never Existed” and the healthy narcissism of “The Beauty of Self-Love” (“Find yourself a partner / Who appreciates the same beauty / You see when you gaze in the mirror”). The poet also mines the oppression of “being called sissy and faggot” in “I Wonder” and offers a truly ringing cry of solidarity in “A Love Letter 4 U” (“It doesn’t matter if we identify as / GAY or LESBIAN / TRANS or NONBINARY / Our unity makes us stronger than ever”). Readers may find that the poems in this collection sometimes come off as self-involved, which make the set as a whole feel uneven. Overall, though, the poems evoke the rush and anxiety of love in a relatable style that’s sure to resonate with many readers.

An often affecting book of poems about modern romance.

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-945748-13-4

Page Count: 129

Publisher: Daryl-Jarod Entertainment

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.

THE AUTHENTICITY PROJECT

A group of strangers who live near each other in London become fast friends after writing their deepest secrets in a shared notebook.

Julian Jessop, a septuagenarian artist, is bone-crushingly lonely when he starts “The Authenticity Project”—as he titles a slim green notebook—and begins its first handwritten entry questioning how well people know each other in his tiny corner of London. After 15 years on his own mourning the loss of his beloved wife, he begins the project with the aim that whoever finds the little volume when he leaves it in a cafe will share their true self with their own entry and then pass the volume on to a stranger. The second person to share their inner selves in the notebook’s pages is Monica, 37, owner of a failing cafe and a former corporate lawyer who desperately wants to have a baby. From there the story unfolds, as the volume travels to Thailand and back to London, seemingly destined to fall only into the hands of people—an alcoholic drug addict, an Australian tourist, a social media influencer/new mother, etc.—who already live clustered together geographically. This is a glossy tale where difficulties and addictions appear and are overcome, where lies are told and then forgiven, where love is sought and found, and where truths, once spoken, can set you free. Secondary characters, including an interracial gay couple, appear with their own nuanced parts in the story. The message is strong, urging readers to get off their smartphones and social media and live in the real, authentic world—no chain stores or brands allowed here—making friends and forming a real-life community and support network. And is that really a bad thing?

An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-7861-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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