4 out of 5 stars
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The Lockdown Collection by Barry Jacob is a collection of 40 poems discussing various topics in hopes of lifting the spirit of the public after the COVID-19 lockdown. It is mainly centered around Ireland, its politics, beauty, and sports. The book includes a poem about the efforts of healthcare workers during the pandemic, distance learning during the lockdown, and how we took our daily lives for granted. It also discusses more serious topics like Brexit, Trump's mob storming the capitol, world leaders, the Arab Spring, and the Queen's visit to Ireland. No matter where you are from, you will find something to enjoy in this book.
I rarely read poems and was curious to see if I would enjoy this book. It turns out the book was engaging and fun. The poems were rhythmic and entertaining and felt fulfilling as they ended. They were neither short nor too long and encompassed enough of each subject without being overwhelming. They usually had a funny twist at the end that often made me giggle. The book made me look back at what had been two difficult years that changed a lot about how we perceive and do things. A poem that stuck with me was about mobile phones and how they have made us focus less on our surroundings and more on being online. The author proposes we switch them off or put them on silent when outside to live in the moment. He also mentions the importance of taking a daily walk after being trapped in our homes for so long with nothing that counts as physical activity. His pet cat also received well-earned attention for merely being a cat, which I wholly enjoyed.
Although I am not familiar with Irish affairs, the book interested me, causing me to look up various topics regarding Ireland. For example, Mayo, a county in Ireland, hasn't won an All-Ireland football title since 1951. While celebrating their winning of the title back then, they passed a funeral and seemingly acquired bad luck. It was humorous yet unfortunate to discover that the county has not won a title since then. The author used sarcasm in this poem and similar ones, which amused me despite the gloomy undertones of the topics. Some poems mentioned locations to visit in Ireland for those up for a challenge, which made me eager to visit the country. The author also reminds readers of the importance of not littering. All in all, reading the book was a pleasant journey with sarcastic, delightful, and serious notes.
As for the negatives, there were only minor ones. A poem named "Saoirse's Wild Beauty" felt irrelevant to include with the rest due to its flirty nature, making me question its relevance and causing me slight discomfort while reading it. The book contained a handful of errors and a repeated poem named "The Children's Hospital." Thus, it could benefit from another round of proofreading.
In conclusion, I rate this book four out of five stars for having minor negatives along with some errors. It does not include sexual content but has some instances containing borderline profanity. I recommend this book to those from the UK since they are most familiar with the topics discussed. Still, the book is suitable for anyone willing to read about a myriad of subjects like the pandemic, politics, and daily affairs.
The Lockdown Collection
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