Stylistically challenging at first, this verse novel is emotionally raw, powerful and affecting. The story follows Joe, who is the only member of his family travelling down to witness the execution of his brother. Rather than a straightforward narrative, the series of poems piecing together his journey to acceptance, growing up, and forgiveness is harrowing.
The poems jump from the event that caused Ed’s imprisonment and it’s effect on the family through to visits to the prison and the relationships Joe forms in the community which exists in the nearby town.
The format makes Ed’s plight even more dramatic. The book leaves you wondering what Ed’s fate will be throughout, but without making it the focus – it tightly keeps that on Joe and how he is handling the whole process. No matter what the ending was, this reviewer had tears in his eyes for essentially the last 75 pages. I’m not a poetry fan, but after the first 20 or so pages, I was completely lost in the story and didn’t pick up the style as being different, just an emotional way to convey events and feelings.
The authentic setting, actions and language of the character make it hard to believe the author isn’t from the places described.
One that stays with you, and I can’t wait to read more from her.