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Reviewed by Edith Wairimu for Readers' Favorite
In Brandt Schubbe’s collection, The Auburn Book, the persona opens up in the narrative pieces giving us a glimpse of their difficult and sometimes chaotic life. These experiences are coupled with a revelation of their struggles and hopes. He narrates his struggles with bipolar disorder, loneliness, and making better choices. The lines "Drunk I am, Stoner I am, Bipolar I am” reveal his struggles with the disorder and also with drugs. A couple of times wrong decisions land him in jail and when he is out, he goes to see his mother who is ill. The collection reflects upon the person’s regrets, painful memories, internal struggles, hope for the future and the strain to live through most days.
In many ways, The Auburn Book is revealing and open regarding the character’s emotions. The persona is not perfect. He struggles with difficult decisions and life choices as well as things beyond his control. This makes the poetry authentic as it reflects everyday struggles that many can relate to. The collection also contains vivid descriptions and imagery which provide a suitable background for the poems. Every word is placed carefully into the poem. Since the poet uses very few words, those that are chosen are powerful and telling. Most parts of the collection are fast paced but sometimes the pace is slow, allowing readers time to take in the words and the experiences behind the text. The Auburn Book by Brandt Schubbe is candid and tells the story of an imperfect character, which makes it real and absorbing.