An often affecting book of poems about modern romance.


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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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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Above-average formula fiction, making full display of the author’s strong suits: sense of place, compassion for characters...


Female rivalry is again the main preoccupation of Hannah’s latest Pacific Northwest sob saga (Firefly Lane, 2008, etc.).

At Water’s Edge, the family seat overlooking Hood Canal, Vivi Ann, youngest and prettiest of the Grey sisters and a champion horsewoman, has persuaded embittered patriarch Henry to turn the tumbledown ranch into a Western-style equestrian arena. Eldest sister Winona, a respected lawyer in the nearby village of Oyster Shores, hires taciturn ranch hand Dallas Raintree, a half-Native American. Middle sister Aurora, stay-at-home mother of twins, languishes in a dull marriage. Winona, overweight since adolescence, envies Vivi, whose looks get her everything she wants, especially men. Indeed, Winona’s childhood crush Luke recently proposed to Vivi. Despite Aurora’s urging (her principal role is as sisterly referee), Winona won’t tell Vivi she loves Luke. Yearning for Dallas, Vivi stands up Luke to fall into bed with the enigmatic, tattooed cowboy. Winona snitches to Luke: engagement off. Vivi marries Dallas over Henry’s objections. The love-match triumphs, and Dallas, though scarred by child abuse, is an exemplary father to son Noah. One Christmas Eve, the town floozy is raped and murdered. An eyewitness and forensic evidence incriminate Dallas. Winona refuses to represent him, consigning him to the inept services of a public defender. After a guilty verdict, he’s sentenced to life without parole. A decade later, Winona has reached an uneasy truce with Vivi, who’s still pining for Dallas. Noah is a sullen teen, Aurora a brittle but resigned divorcée. Noah learns about the Seattle Innocence Project. Could modern DNA testing methods exonerate Dallas? Will Aunt Winona redeem herself by reopening the case? The outcome, while predictable, is achieved with more suspense and less sentimental histrionics than usual for Hannah.

Above-average formula fiction, making full display of the author’s strong suits: sense of place, compassion for characters and understanding of family dynamics.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-312-36410-6

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2008

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