I was introduced to this author about a year ago, in an author take over event in Tarryn Fisher’s group. I’m not a big poetry fan and I don’t spend time reading it very much, but I do love Jen’s poems. She writes about what hurts and it is all to easy for me to relate to.
“There is a certain hope that tattoos your soul when you meet someone new. Someone promising.”
I’ve read almost all her poetry, but this is her first novel that I’ve read; she has others. Others that I will likely read, because her words can slay a person if read at the right time, maim you if it’s not. This is the second novel by a poet that I’ve read in as many months, and there is something about the raw emotion that their words evoke. You can feel it and taste it, you can roll it between your fingers. It is intense and at times brutal in it’s honesty and emotion.
“….that heart of his was still long gone. Lost to me. I wondered then if I would ever get it back. I had no idea I would pummel it into the ground. I would later want to give anything to have the days when he loved me less back. When I was the one yearning. It was easier to manage. I could handle all of my sad wanting. It was his sadness that was too hard to bear.”
The story narration jumps between an airport conversation, journal entries, and then from both Gwen and Connor’s perspectives, the two main characters. It seems a little scattered at first but once you see the rhythm it will take you. The airport talks helped bridge the other scenes, and soon her colorful writing swept me away. Gwen was hard to like and easy to relate to, something that I wondered at from time to time, that’s a weird thing to feel. I think I saw a little too much of my young self in her flawed ways and outrageous behavior. She drank to much and hurt too deeply, much to deep for anyone else to comprehend. And she listened, really listened when people talked. I love that.
“Talking means you aren’t listening. Talking means revealing and I like to let others do that. I like to catch their secrets in my palm.”
I loved reading and highlighting as I went along, only to go back and reread the highlights at the end of the chapter. I think it takes a lot of guts to write a true story that is filled with so many hurts, and I thought of Jen the whole time I was reading this. I cried some and was very moved. All the stars for Kiss Me Like You Mean It.