Book Reviews

Break Review


By Adam Levon Brown

Published by Poetic Justice Books 2019

64 pages

$12 paperback

ISBN: 978-1-950433-03-2

Book reviewed by Kavita Khajuria.

“My fingers dance across delusional

ballrooms, skipping

rope with my synapses”

This book is a powerful narrative  – it lifts the tip of the iceberg to expose the cataclysmic realities of mental illness. Themes include trauma and abuse, isolation and suicide, and hopelessness and gratitude – with tones of despair, desolation and resignation. 

Emotional scars are communicated in visceral depth. Most striking are the psychotic and depressive experiences, which translate as highly educational and an invocation to empathy. Readers can observe the resonating psychic pain as well as moments of gratitude and glimmers of hope. The triple entendre with parental mental illnesses compound the weight, yet it’s clear in this case that certain bonds can never die in spite of mental illness. It’s a moving experience, and a validation of the human spirit.

Book Reviews

The Madman Review

The Madman: His Parables and Poems

by Kahlil Gibran

2002 reprint of the 1918 original

Dover Publications

$4.95 paperback

ISBN 0-486-41911-8

Book reviewed by Kavita Khajuria

“Here I sit between my brother the mountain and my sister the sea. We three are one in loneliness, and the love that binds us together is deep and strong and strange”

The Madman is a collection of 34 poems and parables authored by well known legendary poet, artist and philosopher, Kahlil Gibran. Themes include suffering, solitude, imperfections, masks, misconceptions, perspectives and the self. This particular collection describes the power of freedom in authenticity. It resonates solitude, defiance and aloneness – deep expressions of the heart and soul, with certain aspects speaking to lost periods in ones life. Gibran questions as to whether one can truly accept and embrace all aspects of the self and challenges in this worldly life. He also addresses worldly power, potential ironies of justice and influence, the traps of enthronement and self absorption, and emphasizes the reality of imperfections and impermanence – as there is no ‘perfect’ person. This book contains deep expressions of the heart and soul, which can be profoundly healing, but should be used with caution, depending on the state of the mind of the reader.

Book Reviews

Memories of Psychosis Review

Memories of Psychosis: Poems on the Mental Distress Experience By Neesa Sunar, 2019

124 pages

$ 12.99 Paperback

ISBN 978-1710719390

“..I’ve learned that those who seek are never lost, because curiosity is a light unto itself ”

This collection is a communication of suffering, existential struggle, yearning and hope. Themes include trauma, anguish, sexism, domestic violence and self esteem. Verses resonate with defiance, anger, pride and longing – yet also with fearlessness and astute insight. The reader can observe psychosis at times, sense the struggle and confusion, and paradoxically elsewhere, the clarity and spiritual awareness. 

Mental illness expressed in poetry carries tremendous weight. It allows us to feel and validate the plight of human suffering which can facilitate empathy and deepen compassion. It can also challenge assumptions and illuminate various aspects of ones life. It’s an example of art as a mechanism to enrich psychotherapy and the process of healing – which can facilitate a better understanding of the heart and soul beyond a diagnosis. It’s often used as a safe haven as part of the recovery process for those with chronic illness.

Book Review by Kavita Khajuria.