by Rima Jbara

"Since you’ve left me, and I wanted to
follow you.
Wait for me."

Part prose, part poetry, this in an insightful and passionate piece of work. Hope is a young talent who prepares for her first interview as a new professional painter. The reader can sense a painful past during the interview, and it is confirmed when she tells the interviewer, Alex, that her father is dead. The author’s perceptively dark tone teases the reader, suggesting that there may be more to the story, and eventually we learn that Hope's father committed suicide.

Jbara does a good job of depicting Hope as both angry and ashamed about her father’s death. Hope temporarily manages to climb out of her depression and find a bit of joy again until her mother, Chantal, dies suddenly. The following chapters are palpably painful as Hope is left to fend for herself at only seventeen years old. A poignant poem written by Hope which hints at Hope’s own suicide attempt is especially heart-breaking.

Each one of the poems that the author includes in the book cleverly foretells Hope’s next emotional stage. For example, as Hope begins to feel better, her poem describes her climbing up a staircase. While the young artist’s life continues to spiral out of control, Jbara illustrates her ordeal in raw, powerful prose. Parts of the exposition are also delivered through dialogue, and it is entertaining to follow Hope’s interspersed French. At the end of her life, the reader comes to realize that Hope is a tortured soul who, like many artists, is at her happiest when creating. This is an emotional, heart-wrenching read.

Return to USR Home