4 out of 4 stars
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In the wake of massive societal upheavals and a worldwide pandemic, Brian Sankarsingh has put pen to paper to share his thoughts in his debut book, A Sliver of a Chance. In this moving collection of poems, Mr. Sankarsingh addressed many issues facing both the United States and Canada today. Inspired by his observations as an immigrant to Canada, he wrote on topics such as politics, racism, colonialism, and a wide variety of everyday struggles. He also penned some heartwarming tributes to his loved ones and elaborated on newsworthy events that shook him to the core. While I read, I laughed and cried as I saw the world through his eyes.
The book’s cover art is visually appealing. It depicts a man standing on a rope bridge connecting both sides of a steep gorge. The yellow-tinted scenery evokes feelings of hope and serenity as the man leaves one side and crosses to the other. This is a symbolic representation of Mr. Sankarsingh’s journey from his birthplace to his new home. In terms of formatting, this well-organized book has a table of contents, and it is divided into sections that focus on a particular topic. For example, the title of the collection is based on a poem in the segment about racism. Each section begins with an introduction to the topic, and every poem includes a brief explanation of the author’s inspiration for the piece. Some black-and-white cartoon illustrations complement the text.
There were many aspects I enjoyed about this poetry collection. First of all, the author’s writing style was very eloquent. His intellect was apparent because he used many advanced vocabulary words in the text. I learned that the word “crore” denotes a value of ten million (often referring to Indian rupees) and an “acrostic” is a type of poem in which certain letters (usually the first letter of each line) spell out other words or phrases. Many of the poems imparted sage advice that should be heeded.
I can’t mention every poem in this review, but a few of them really stood out to me. Among them, “Suddenly” is my favorite because it is the most relevant to me. I recently had to deal with a death in my family, and the words perfectly capture how I feel about the situation. “Thoughts & Prayers” is a very powerful narrative poem that describes the inner thoughts of a mass shooter and his young victim. I like how the author presents arguments for and against gun ownership in “Guns – Us & Them.” I also like the fact that he acknowledges his roots in the poem entitled “Trinidad.”
There wasn’t much I disliked about the book, but I will list a few of my observations. I felt that the author didn’t offer any fresh perspectives regarding the problem of racism. He only referred to the white vs. colored people aspect, but he could have mentioned the racial prejudice that also exists between other groups. Like the author, I am from Trinidad and Tobago. Seeing as people of African descent and people of Indian descent form the majority of the country’s population, he could have acknowledged the harsh reality that many colored people still divide themselves along perceived racial lines. I wish he had also discussed the matter of colorism because it is sometimes linked to racism and colonialism. Finally, given how many explanations he included throughout the text, it seemed a bit odd that the book ended abruptly after the last poem. I had expected and hoped for a closing statement.
Overall, this is a very well-written and thought-provoking book. It appears to be professionally edited because I only found a few errors. There are two instances in one poem where lewd language is used, so the book is most suitable for teenagers and adults. The pros far outweigh the cons, so I award A Sliver of a Chance a full rating of four out of four stars. I recommend it to readers who enjoy poetry and social commentary.
A Sliver of a Chance
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