BOOK REVIEW | I HOPE MY VOICE DOESN'T SKIP BY ALICIA COOK

Friday, July 13, 2018


First thing first, let me start by saying a huge thank you to Andrews McMeel Publishing for sending me a copy of this marvellous little book of treasures, you guys rock!
And to Alicia, who's been always nice to me and was kind enough - no but really, she's the best! - to choose me as her international reviewer for her book. It's been amazing working with you on this special project! Your heart is one of those rare ones, made of white magic, delicate love and a burning passion. You really are a special bean.

And now, ladies and gents, let's crack on!

If you're not familiar with Alicia's work, well, the question is mandatory: where have you been? Seriously, though, she's one of the most powerful voices of our generation, an award-winning activist and an amazing writer. If you love poetry, chances are, you know her and her beautiful, creative, original work.
Stuff I've Been Feeling Lately is her first poetry collection and if you've been around here for a while now, you should know I do have a book "review" for that.

Like the first one, though, I won't be writing a review for this new book. If you've already read the post I wrote some time ago, you'd know I'm not really comfortable in reviewing poetry books and not because I don't know how to do it - although I'm not even quite sure I know how to review a "normal" book - but because poetry, to me, is more personal, almost like reading someone's journal. You don't expect people to review your thoughts, your feelings, what you've been through, right? So I won't. What I will do, though, is sharing with you all my thoughts about it and how it made me feel, a general overview of Alicia's new work.




01. the general idea.

This book was so clever and Alicia is a very talented and creative human who likes to make me feel things I really don't want to feel. 
Let's start with the cover. If you remember the first book, it was shaped as a music-cassette and divided in two parts, like a music-cassette would - insert trip down memory lane right here for everyone old enough to remember those - and each song had a track who made the reader dive into the words, like a lullaby. This second book is even better! 
Alicia collaborated with other artists in the music industry so that some of her poetry became actual songs that you can hear! That is mind-blowing! 
I have a Q&A with Alicia coming out very soon on the blog so watch this space to know what she has to say about the whole process! 



02. recurring themes.

This book was raw. I won't sugar coat it for you, there are trigger warnings throughout the whole collection because Alicia Cook writes about very important topics, some of them really hard to read about, especially if they hit too close to home. There's this one poem called Ten Little Girls that deals with child abuse, eating disorders, suicide and everything that's sadly going on in the world. It's powerful and it makes you angry. And then there are recurring themes like childhood memories and the time spent with her family or something her mother used to say or her dad used to do. I loved that. Also, the topic of death is very there. The missing someone, the words she didn't say, the things she didn't get to do anymore... She also writes about self-respect, the importance our own person should have for us, even when people leave, even if they don't love us any more or something has gone the wrong direction, we need to keep trying. Even if we fall, we owe it to ourselves to get up and try harder, to always reach for the stars.

03. Alicia's voice.

I think this was the best part. What really caught my eye was the delicacy and the tenderness she faced every topic with. No matter how hard or important or difficult to digest, she writes with such a care that is so easy to get lost in her words. And she is so relatable! You read her poems and then you start wondering if you didn't write it yourself because it hits you so hard, right in the middle of your chest. Her voice is so empowering! Especially when, in some poems, it feels like she's talking directly to you like a friend would. Can you tell I love this woman?

04. my thoughts.

This is the hard part. You know when you have so many thoughts all running together at the same speed and time and your brain can't catch up so you go like sdahgysfguwfwnv? Well, that is me right now. But I'll try to make it simple and easy, like, reeeeally try. 
When I got the book I was so excited to start reading it that I turned my laptop off for the day and just enjoyed every single moment I got to spend outside on the terrace with this gem of a book. I wanted to fully immerse myself into the stories each poem told and maybe shed a few tears as some of them punched me right in the feels. If you could see the state of the book now, you would scream at me. I basically wrote thoughts on thoughts on the pages and dog-eared them and put sticky notes all over them and I'm not even sorry or ashamed. I like messy books, cracked spines and that poor thing is so beaten up now that some of the pages are starting to come off. But that's just a sign of how much I loved it, right? You know, the idea of turning some poems into actual songs really intrigued me because it's so new and different and we need more diverse things in our world, don't we? But apart from that, the poems really spoke to me on a deeper level. That is why I love poetry, don't get me wrong, I loooove my novels but poetry has something that novels don't which is the relatable factor. Let me explain: you read a book and you find yourself so similar to a character that it's like you are that character, you see yourself in the story. But there are books in which you can't find yourself in them, you don't connect with the characters and what's the point of reading if no one is even a tiny bit like you? That doesn't exist with poetry. You will always find a poem, a sentence, something that will speak to you, to your heart, to what you're going through and this book did just that for me. Even if the author is talking about something else, you can give your own interpretation of what you're reading, depending on what you're going through, your feelings, your heart. 
There's this one poem called Save - Don't Save - Cancel that really resonates with me. It made me think about the friends I lost along the way, the same ones I sometimes still think about but in a way, even if I live in the memory of those days and my heart is still aching and their faces are still clear and vivid, it's okay to remember but it's also okay to let go of them. Because at the end of the day, those moments are gone. This poem makes me also think about the people I lost to the sky, the way I can still feel the love, the pain, the hurting. It's hard to forget, sometimes because those people not only entered your heart but they dig a hole for themselves to live in, inside your every cell, deep in your bones and every smell reminds you of them and you keep seeing them in that place you once shared. But it's okay to move forward. It's actually right to move on, because:
I'm still flesh and bone and here.

I hope you found this kind of a review interesting and helpful and I do really suggest you buy I Hope My Voice Doesn't Skip because it'll make you feel uncomfortable and then understood and loved and even if you're grieving right now, or you know someone who is going through a hard time or someone who is fighting his demons, please remember there is always a way out, even if it means you have to go through pain first.
As Alicia Cook wrote on her dedication for I Hope My Voice Doesn't Skip: 
We're all recovering from something. This is for all of us.

You can get Alicia's new book here as well as her previous poetry collection. Also, don't forget to follow Alicia on Instagram and Twitter, she's such a babe!

Don't forget to come back next Friday for an exclusive heart-to-heart interview with Alicia Cook where I asked her all about her writing process, the collaboration with musicians and all about I Hope My Voice Doesn't Skip - watch this space!



You might be interested in these:
- Stuff I've been feeling lately book review;

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