"Everyone wants a fairytale life but,
How many people have one?"

Spanning twenty-two years, Belle’s compilation of poems strikes a resounding note of resilience and refusal to accept an abusive relationship. Its connection with the “Me Too” movement cannot be understated. While Belle takes liberties with the rhythm and meter of the poetry, and the punctuation in the expository sections of the poetry is not without flaws, few poems can bring sensitive and downright difficult experiences to life with such force and visceral imagery as exhibited in this work.

From the outset, Belle juxtaposes the tense nature of her poetry with the serene images of the Powell River in British Columbia. The compilation begins with “Leaving Me” (published by the International Library of Poetry). The consistent parallel structure, usually five-word lines, gives the work an almost musical flow. Every section tells a different tale but is preceded by a backstory that helps the audience build a genuine connection with the speaker. This is evident in poems like “Ode to Men” and “Addict” which deliver a Girl on the Train, voyeuristic feel of watching the compulsive effects of addiction.

Energy surges through Belle’s poetry; poems like “Alone” and “Just Me” portray the loneliness of a dysfunctional relationship as waves crashing on the shore on a quiet night. In contrast, “Whole Heart” is one of several poems that explore sexuality and finding the right life partner. Throughout, the speaker is trying to earn the approval of her mother—but always in vain. Ultimately, all audiences can appreciate Belle’s quest to escape from her “illusion of freedom,” and the realization that change starts with the self.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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