A varied debut collection of short poems, stories, and essays.
“Life can be sweet, salty, hot, cold and even stale, like kettle corn,” Metcalf writes in the introduction to this compilation of verse, brief fiction, and other writings. In “Bogey,” one of the shortest and most bittersweet tales here, a man named Thomas narrates the moment when he puts his dog, and best friend, down. Other stories also offer brief glimpses into characters’ lives and thoughts: In “Some Stranger,” a bests-selling author learns the value of trusting others after experiencing a bad car wreck; a woman reflects on her difficult work in a psychiatric ward and taking care of her mother in “Chocolate and Troy”; and a titular “Underwater Angel” narrates guiding a “newly dead” woman across a peaceful shore of sparkling light and rainbows. In short essays, Metcalf shares her own thoughts on faith (“It is synonymous with trusting confidence”), philosophy (“Philosophy sounds like God. Why should it not be?”), and her reaction to a Rudyard Kipling poem (“I have a ‘Gunga Din.’ His name is Jesus”). Mixed in are several verses that mostly follow very simple rhyme schemes. In one, the speaker describes “Utopia” as “Not having any awkward vibes / Accepting there are varied lives / Forgiving all who insult me / Understanding they don’t see.” Like the stories, these poems depict poignant and sometimes-uplifting moments. However, the childlike nature of the rhymes often blunt their impact, and they usually focus on basic themes; one poem (“Hate and It’s [sic] Cure”) includes the rather obvious line, “There is nothing good about hate.” Still, Christian readers looking for a literary snack, akin to the one referenced in the book’s title, will appreciate how easily these works go down.
A short and sweet compilation, but one that has little substance, even when tackling big ideas.