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REVIEW: Depression & Other Magic Tricks by Sabrina Benaim

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“Mom says where did anxiety come from?

Anxiety is the cousin visiting from out of town

depression felt obliged to bring to the party.

Mom, I am the party.

Only, I am a party I don’t want to be at.”

Exploring themes of mental health, love and family; Sabrina Benaim’s debut book certainly packs a punch. I knew of Sabrina Benaim long before this book came to light. She is a very well known performance poet and one of the most-viewed of all time, so no pressure for her to release a brilliant book, right?

There is an extreme sense of vulnerability to this poetry collection. It’s very genuine and very real. This makes it harder to read. Everyone has moments when you feel like you have something inside you and you don’t know how to express or word it properly. Sabrina gets that. It’s like she could just look at you and pin down your emotions and views with beautiful imagery, leaving you feeling like that bad dream of being naked in front of loads of people.

I feared that the spoken word that I so love her for would always contain an element that she could never pin down on paper and get to behave, that there would be something missing. I am so disappointed in myself for being stupid enough to doubt her.

The voice in this poetry book gripped me, especially as I tried to read it in the same way she presents her slam poetry. Shaking and all. The language isn’t complex as such; sometimes you do have to reread parts to fully grasp the meaning. This can disrupt the flow of the work at points.

The layout of the book itself does seem fairly disorganised; the structure didn’t really seem there. However, I think this did fit the book itself perfectly. The book does tackle themes that are very hard to grasp for the average person. Anyone who may not have suffered from a mental illness before, may not get that there isn’t an order in how things happen to you or what you go through, you feel very disorganised as a person. This isn’t to say that someone who hasn’t ever suffered from a mental illness may not get this book. If anything, it adds insight into what really does go on in someone that is sufferings head.

All in all, the book did not disappoint and it is no wonder that Sabrina’s book is nominated for Goodreads Best Poetry in their 2017 Choice Awards.

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About Author

Beth Smith

Books Editor 2017/18,
News Editor 2016/17

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