Saturday, August 17, 2013

Through a Mother’s Eyes – Book Review

Through a Mother’s Eyes by Jackie Barreau is a collection of poems, quotes and pictures. It is published in memory of her two sons, Cody and Luke, who passed away at a very early age; it is also dedicated to her two daughters and to all parents who have lost their children to illness. It is a simple and heartfelt collection that deals with pain, loss, love, hope and moving forward.

The book’s cover and interior design are lovely. I enjoyed the simple pictures Barreau used; and above all, I loved the branches bearing red hearts with her sons’ initials. These branches and red hearts are used as decorative separators throughout the book; they separate one theme or main idea from the other, and occasionally include a quote.

The book opens with a very powerful quote by Moira Rogers that precedes the preface, thus setting the tone and content of the book. It is worth noting that Barreau has made a fine selection of quotes from many well-known writers like Maya Angelou and Kahlil Gibran, in addition to lesser-known and anonymous people.

The poems are short and mostly in free verse, though with some exceptions towards the end.

In her preface, Barreau states the reason for writing this collection and publishing it. She believes in the healing abilities of poetry and verse. One cannot imagine how hard it must have been for Jackie Barreau to write the introduction to this book and recount the memories and the dates that will forever be fixed in her heart and mind.
It is interesting that none of the poems has a title, leaving it to the reader and their emotions, and also leaving it to the verse itself to bear the full weight of the words.

Throughout her book, Barreau uses simple language to convey deep emotions and experiences.

The quotes, like the verses, are memorable; for instance, on p. 8: “Time may heal but the grief never leaves.” – Anonymous. This quote is followed by a poem in which Barreau directly mentions her son, Luke. (p. 9). The piece also handles the theme of reincarnation.

On p. 13, Barreau uses a painfully powerful image to describe the pain of losing a child; she describes it as threatening “to burn through the very core of you” – this line sends a shiver down my spine every time I read it. Similarly, p. 17 holds one of the strongest and most-heartfelt pieces in the book.

One must also note that the poems on p. 21 and 25 are simply spectacular owing to Barreau’s choice of words, use of oxymoron, contradiction and extended metaphor.
Barreau has not written this book to make others weep and mourn her loss, but to give other parents and other children hope, which is a main theme in this collection. Hope inspires and encourages/but above all creates a feeling of self-belief.” (p. 45).

Jackie Barreau cleanses her spirit through verse and quotes. The wording, throughout the book, is simple; it is as if Barreau is using this language so that if Cody and Luke were to ever read it, they would easily understand what she’s saying. Sincere emotions do not need verbose vocabulary, but rather need simple words to convey the deep meaning and the raw emotion they carry.

With this collection, Barreau immortalizes her sons Cody and Luke, and particularly with her line “immortal in death than in life itself,” (p. 21).

Through a Mother’s Eyes is a simple and touching collection that is meant to cleanse the soul and begin the process of moving forward with hope not with despair.

Overall rating 4 stars.

Works Cited:
Barreau, Jackie. Through a Mother's Eyes. Australia, 2013. Poetry Collection.

Connect with Jackie Barreau via Twitter, Facebook, and her website.

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