My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Before I begin I should say that as usual I received this book via a GoodReads drawing. Despite the kind consideration of receiving a free book my candid thoughts follow.
As further preamble it should be noted that if I’m not really in this book’s target demographic. As a book of Christian poetry it should have little appeal to me since I’m neither religious nor much of a fan of poetry. However, I pride myself on an almost self-destructive open-mindedness when it comes to GoodReads drawings. So, when flipping through the titles the thing that caught my eye and made me request a copy was the title. Just those four little words give one the feeling that the book has an edge to it, that it’s not just an empty, vapid book of praise but offers a bit more.
To my delight, the contents live up to the title. Koneval’s work not only celebrates the God she praises but also dares a bit to question him. Her work has a wonderful edginess and, to put it as simply is possible, is just great poetry. So many times in works of a religious bent, the art is lost under the religion. In this case the author starts out with solid, evocative images and uses them to make her point rather than trying to cram doctrine into free verse.
As illustration, I give you a small sample from page 35, a poem titled “God is a Nutter.” In it she paints us a vivid picture that is sure to hang about in my mind for a while:
Babies born with smiles that gleam
Like bullet casings
Pulling grenade pins
Like they were the strings on balloons
Innocence lost; how could a just and vigilant God let such things come to pass one might say?
In summary, I’m the last person one would expect to appreciate such a work but it’s rather irresistible. Not just a book of Poetry. Not just a Christian book. Surprisingly exceptional.