(Auto)Biographies Book Reviews Non Fiction Reader

The Terrible, Yrsa Daley-Ward

Image from Amazon.com

Why is this a must read?

Many of you may recognize the name from Instagram; Yrsa is constantly posting pictures of her beautifully written script, live posting herself composing poetry in real time and presenting screenshots of poetry she keeps on her iPhone.

We all know it. She’s pretty stinkin’ amazing.

I joined the Daley-Ward train a bit later than most, but now that I’m on board, I feel as though my mind has expanded to new ideas and new ways of thinking. That is the ultimate impression reading The Terrible has had on me: I opened her book, not knowing what to expect, and found it incredibly difficult to close afterwards.

Believe me, this is not an exaggeration. I could not put this book down. Only extreme hunger and a screaming bladder forced me to take breaks and rejoin reality. It was that good.

The story is about her life; how she grew up; her (more often than not) precarious experiences within the “seedier” parts of society; her issues with drug use; her often crumbling relationship with her brother and mother; everything in no-holding-your-punches honesty. And I devoured every word, not like a person who’s overly interested in watching the aftermath of a gruesome car crash, but rather, like a person who is totally consumed, enveloped and engaged in someone else’s world, someone else’s viewpoint.

I was totally invested. And, more often than not, I related quite specifically to the undercurrents of her words. She writes beautifully.

What I loved most about this book (aside from the story itself) was the way she chose to compose it. I’ve only come across one other book similar in style: Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse (also a must read if you haven’t had the pleasure). It’s storytelling in a novel using the mechanics of poetry. And I think it works so wonderfully in Yrsa’s book because it authentically supports the story, not because it’s an unfamiliar approach to storytelling.

Her economical use of words combined with her experimental approach to composition and formatting alludes to the often disjointed and haphazard life she lived. The choices she made at this time in her life mirror this structure so well. When someone is an avid drug user or a person who is trying to find validation through their romantic (and often unhealthy) relationships or a person who is simply living life by the seat of their pants, recollections can often feel this way: random, disconnected and hard to track.

Her words and the pieces of her story pop up in a structure that makes you feel like she felt in those times. There’s a story to follow, but it pops up at you in fits and spurts, leaving you confused, reeling. To me, it was perfect.

All I can say is: Please do yourself a favor and read it!

2020: 52(ish) Book Challenge

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Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

This particular book review is the result of my participation with Reddit’s 52 Book Challenge for 2020. The explanation is in the title: read 52 books (or more if you fancy) in one calendar year.

It’s a fun subreddit to be a part of that engages and connects avid readers!

If you’re interested in joining this year’s challenge, make sure to visit r/52book for more details. If you’re curious about my particular list for this year, feel free to check it out here.

Happy reading, everyone!

Alexis Williams is a writer and a freelance proofreader/editor. She currently lives in Oman with her husband who is a full-time elementary school teacher and photographer/visual artist. Please don't hesitate to visit the About Me & Contact Info page to learn more about Alexis and how to communicate with her directly. Also, don't forget to follow her page!

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