Friday, December 31, 2010

Book Review: The View from Down Here (Book 84 of 100)

Jude Lally, the author of my 84th book for review is my Facebook friend. With this in mind, one might assume that I cannot review his book honestly. I, however, tried to be honest in my review. Parts of the collection I loved. Parts made me upset. The book was published by Accents Publishing, one of the Poezia series. This series features members of the Poezia Writers Group in Lexington, Kentucky. Jude has a disability since birth called Friedrich’s Ataxia, but only recently limited his walking ability.

The first poem in the book is Opening Up. It rhymes and I’m not a great fan of rhyming poetry. The second in the collection is Ataxia. It’s the first real disability centered poem in the collection, in my opinion, but it felt medicalized and forced. Jude’s really beautiful poetic phrasing ability comes through particularly well in this awesome line from the poem Try: “words that’ll comfort epileptics in flashing lights” The same goes for the last stanza of the poem Tragic. Gravity and Swimming sum up situations most wheelchair users, at least this one, can relate to.

Sidewalks can be Tricky Sometimes is my second favorite poem in the book. It’s a shape poem and looks like a breaking or broken sidewalk in the layout. November Nature “Walk” is an awesome poem, but looks to similar to Sidewalks can be Tricky Sometimes. I don’t understand why November Nature “Walk” is formatted this way. The formatting does nothing for me and I feel that it would’ve been much better placed in the standard poem format. One might, if one wanted to keep the format, have inserted a standard format poem in between Sidewalks can be Tricky Sometimes and November Nature “Walk”.

Fall’s Fallen Soldiers is another poem most wheelchair users can relate to. It tells the tale of slipping on leaves. Confined is a typical poem of someone with an acquired disability. It’s both bitter and funny. Pedestrians Beware is my favorite poem in the collection. It’s humorous tale of accidentally running over the walking. I can so relate to that experience! The last poem entitled Jude. I am not sure if it’s about becoming more comfortable with one’s disability and accepting the help that a person with disability (PWD) sometimes needs or more horrifying for me an experience of institutionalization.

I liked, but didn’t love this collection. At times it was very bitter indeed. It often had lines I found too long, but on the whole it was worth the $7 I paid. I’m glad that Accents Publishing gave a voice to someone like Jude. I’d rate this book a 7/10. It won’t change your life, but it may make you think new thoughts.

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