2 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
The Stain of Losing My First Love is a non-fiction poetry book authored by Ollie Marshall-Rico. Five decades after being loved and abandoned by her true love, Ollie is hit with the loss of her beloved son. This loss prompts her to put pen to paper and eke out the unresolved emotions from her first love. It chronicles her life prior to, during, and after being set aside by Nathan at only eighteen years old, following her into two brief marriages and affecting significant portions of her life. Divided into six sections, readers are allowed context for and insight into each collection of poems by way of an accompanying introductory summary, which she uses to narrate her experiences.
I appreciated the inspiration and message that ran the fabric of this book. Ollie was a naïve teenager who temporarily moved to the city, only to be swept up in a summer fling with no future. Her emotions from the subsequent breakup are too real, dodging her for five decades until she finally confronts and does away with them. I felt empathy for her when she confided from the get-go that the loss of her son precipitated this large step, and I understand that portraying your deepest secrets for the world’s purview takes a lot of courage.
There were some black and white photos scattered through the book, relevant to certain poems. This helped provide a grounding reference. My only complaint is that, apart from the titles and content of said poems, readers are never made privy to the identity of the persons or things within the photos. Some were obvious, a wall or a pen for titular poems, but some pictures of people had no indication of what they represented.
The format of the book caught me by surprise, admittedly. I thought it to be written in mainly prose style, but the body is mostly comprised of poems. To that end, Ollie employs anaphoras almost exclusively in her poems, poems that had the unfortunate feeling of being repetitive; it felt like the same message was conveyed multiple times. Added to that, the delivery was sometimes confusing. I know that poems are a great way of expressing what lies beneath the surface in a manner not always understood by others, but the wording seemed to be intentionally—and needlessly—convoluted in an attempt to come off as impressive, but it fell short of this.
I was not very impressed with the writing quality, as numerous errors found within the text affected my enjoyment of the book. Examples of this are switching ‘no’ with ‘know’ and ‘vain’ with ‘vein’ and messing up or completely ignoring apostrophes in possessive nouns. As such, I do not believe that this book has been professionally edited.
I give The Stain of Losing My First Love a rating of two out of four stars. The number of errors, as well as the unappealing format and confusing messages, account for this removal of two stars. Otherwise, some parts of this book are relatable, and I believe that it will be enjoyed by those with a penchant for drama and poetry. Readers with a special interest in lost or first love and the attainment of closure should also give this book a try.
The Stain of Losing My First Love
View: on Bookshelves