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Reviewed by Lois Henderson for Readers' Favorite
The Restructuring: Who Are You? by J.L. Stafford is a poetry collection geared towards enabling you to find your true self at a variety of psychological levels. The interrogatory style used by the author puts you on the edge of your seat, as you feel called upon to respond to her soul-searching style. However, the questions that she asks require you, as the reader, to consider carefully what choices you have made in life and that have resulted in you coming to where you are today, at the present moment.
Stafford’s barrage of questions came as a surprise to me as ordinarily I think of reading or listening to poetry as a means of relaxation, and this collection is anything but. Here, you are bound to feel stimulated to direct your attention onto yourself. J.L. Stafford turns the somewhat passive role of the listener into one of actively examining oneself and one’s most inner motives. Whether you, as the reader or listener (in the case of the audiobook version), are prepared to embark upon such a journey under such expert guidance is totally up to you. It will require a certain amount of maturity and willingness on your side to be prepared to answer several questions that probe your innermost being. The Restructuring is no easy read, although it most definitely is a worthwhile one.
The intensity and sincerity of J.L. Stafford are clearly conveyed in this audiobook, which is narrated by the author herself. Her voice is clear and rings true with each and every word that she speaks. Although it would have been helpful to have a distinction made between the various poems, which otherwise tend to blend into one another, once I became more used to her style than I was at the beginning, I was able to distinguish between the different parts. I would recommend that you listen to a few minutes at a time, otherwise, you might lose yourself in the overall content. Also, set some time aside for the listening, as it demands your attention and is all-engrossing. In short, The Restructuring is a worthwhile collection of poems and one that is likely to encourage deep thinking.