As always, do not let my star count override your judgment of content. More on the stars, counting, and my rating challenges later.
This is an easy work to read and appreciate, but challenging to rate with a single digit. Is it ninety-four poems? Or is it a novel?
The poems are good. The rhymes are close enough (often perfect) and often enough, that you know when rhyming was intended. There are instances of totally free verse, and they work perfectly as well.
On top of that, this is really a novel. It tells about a significant part of the life of a person. That it is highly personal is, imho, the normal risk a poet takes with every keystroke or notebook scribble. It is not maudlin; contrarily, it is engaging. I felt like one of my young (then) children telling Bugs Bunny not to take Porky Pig’s potentially explosive present. Don’t do it! my mind shrieked, when she decided to come on to this oh-so-attractive and oh-so-self-centered individual.
Those scrolling for the tiny carps can stop here. There’s a typo or two. Nothing. Back to Oredein’s work.
From a mostly off-again relationship, things eventually develop and there evolves a conflicted mind-set, where the fundamental insecurity of the other starts to show through.
There are some literary touches, for example: “The waves, a vehicle for our leisure” in Makin’ Waves.
In Laguna Beach, this: “After a few hours, /when there was more laughter than tears /we went indoors to make love, /and obliterate the rest of our fears.” This after a fight and make-up discussion.
There are moments of insight, as in The Ex-Sex-Hex, where we find this: “It scares you to think that I could be just like you.”
The title poem is a tour-de-force. Guaranteed to blow you away: with understanding, sympathy, and insights that make you uncomfortable, as the writer was uncomfortable having them.
There is a brilliant rant in Turkey Wings, which also treats us to neat rhymes. For example, “I’m not Muslim, or Arab /I don't’ cover myself from head to toe /I eat meat bought in the supermarket /And, yea, I’m probably a ho.”
There is some pleasant relief as well, in The Sole Owner of my Heart, which is a straightforward love poem. In fact there are several nice ones at this point in the book, leading up to Eight Weeks, where an absence is not going well for our heroine: “But I question your words /because your actions speak louder /And they’re barely above a whisper.”
If you’re looking for a bizarre and fun rhyme scheme, see Grievin’ (sic) which is another sad stage in this story.
I should warn the reader: some of the pieces are, er, graphic. And, imho, really well done, as in Hard to Swallow. No spoilers here, buy the book and read the piece.
There is a clever extended metaphor in Newsflash.
Again, coming up with the star count is the hard part. While this may not be The Love Song of Alfred J Prufrock, it is quite well done. And, while perhaps not quite the very best personal story I’ve ever read either, it is again quite good. Put together, I have to make a single-digit decision.
My personal guidelines, when doing an ‘official’ KBR review, are as follows: five stars means, roughly equal to best in genre. Rarely given. Four stars means, extremely good. Three stars means, definitely recommendable. I am a tough reviewer.
If you’re looking for the account of the life of a relationship, told in narrative poetry, this book is for you. Four stars it is, and highly recommended.
His PhD is in Hypocrisy: And Other Poems about My Crappy Ex-Boyfriend by Tayo Oredein is a book of poems that revolves around a Muslim guy named Steven. The author used to be madly in love with him, and she takes us on a poetic journey through their roller coaster relationship. She pours her heart out as she recalls all of the immense love she once felt for Steven, as well as the times when confusion, lack of trust, and anxiety plagued her mind. Tayo was head over heels in love with Steven, and she was looking forward to being his future wife. Steven ends up breaking her heart when he cheats behind her back with another woman. The author has a very hard time getting over this hurtful relationship. But in the end, she triumphs by learning to live without Steven. She heals herself from all of the hurt, loneliness, and sadness that he caused her.
The rocky relationship that took place between author Tayo Oredein and her boyfriend Steven is vividly recalled in this work. The author takes us on a journey that starts with her falling madly in love with Steven; he is her happiness and true love. Then, Steven betrays her, and she is deeply hurt. In the end, Tayo finally has the courage to let go of this unhealthy relationship, and time heals her deeply punctured wounds. The poet's raw emotions that she experienced throughout her relationship with Steven were so vividly described, and I felt her pain. I think a lot of women can relate to this book because many people have experienced this type of relationship at one point in their lives, especially with their first true love. Falling in love, being cheated on, getting hurt, and finding the courage to move on, is - unfortunately - very common in the real world.