3 out of 4 stars
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Dancing Shadows in the Light by Kimberly M. Klein is a collection of poetry that the author uses to express her emotions. The author was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis at the age of eighteen. She tried everything from fantasy to non-fiction to humor to try to get her story across. She just couldn’t seem to put her feelings into words, until she finally realized that her words seemed to flow in poetry. Her poetry takes the reader on a roller coaster of emotions as they follow her through the feelings of her day-to-day life.
I was a little disappointed when I first started reading this book. Every description I read prior to the book itself portrayed it as the author’s story. By story I assumed that the poetry would create more of a plot. I thought the author was going to tell the story of her illnesses within the poetry, but that didn’t happen. The “story” is told in the prologue and epilogue of the book. I don’t necessarily think that this was a bad thing; I just wish the blurb and descriptions had been a little more clear on what to expect from this book.
Once I got past my initial disappointment, I was able to enjoy the book. The poems really give you an idea of the emotions that the author felt daily. Some are positive and others negative, which shows the reader that the author must have had good and bad days. This fluctuation in emotions seems to be in line with her state of health. I felt like I was feeling her emotions with her. It was great when she was happy and heartbreaking when she felt like giving up. It really made me grateful for my own health.
I think the poems were great. They had unique vocabulary and nice flow. The author had a great sense of rhythm and rhyme throughout most of the book. However, a few times I was thrown off because the rhythm would randomly change, or the words didn’t actually rhyme. I didn’t like this aspect, but I think some people might enjoy the variance. There were also pictures for a few of the poems. I thought that the pictures were refreshing as the weren’t present for every poem.
I liked the overall structure of the book. There was a preface that added a backstory to the poems. The author’s history and illness was brought up in this section. I feel like it was easier to connect with the emotion in the poetry once I knew where the author was coming from. While the preface is a great addition, I felt like it still needed some more editing. The sentence structure kind of made it difficult to read. Please note that I’m really just nit-picking at the preface because I think it is so important to the book. I also enjoyed the About the Author section at the end of the book. It gently reminded the reader of what the author was going through as she was writing.
Overall, I thought that this was a pretty good book. I would recommend it to anyone that enjoys reading poetry. However, I would recommend reading just a few of the poems at a time. I read the whole thing at once, and it got a little redundant toward the end. I think I would have enjoyed it more if I had taken breaks from reading it. I would also have liked the poems to form a bit more of a plot, but that is just my opinion. That being said, I give this book 3 out of 4 stars.
Dancing Shadows in the Light
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