This book is about the journey to yourself, told in a collection of poems. It’s about understanding the shadow sides of yourself and giving them a chance to be seen by daylight. It talks about heartbreak, depression, self-worth, confidence, hope, believing in the unseen and ultimately, healing, by loving yourself. Written and illustrated by Farena Bajwa
The portrait that emerges is of a poet healing, facing uncertainty, digging for confidence and meaning. Some verses find Bajwa’s narrator psyching herself up (“‘I can’t do it’ / is the moment before you do it. / -start.”) or contemplating the frustrating complexity of contemporary romance (“Ask me out for a date so you can get to know me / or scroll down my feed until you‘ve seen my personality. / Have you found something you like? / Am I worth the wait?”) Her tone and topics are relatable, her forms inviting, her approaches clever, sometimes wry, often affecting. The feeling is loose and light without being casual: her lines dance with each page’s white space, the layouts lending crucial emphasis.
Bajwa is shrewd enough to anticipate and defuse the criticism of an ungenerous reader--one poem, on the subject of art, asks “Is it my passion, / or / do I just want to be seen?” That question, of course, cannily thumbs the essence of the creative impulse. Less guarded are her spot illustrations, a bevy of vivid, surprising sketches accompanying and enriching most pages. The combination is arresting, both naive and savvy, simple and rich.
Takeaway: Intimate, relatable verse, written, illustrated, and laid out with wit and feeling.
Great for fans of: Nayyirah Waheed, Faraway.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A