Book Review: Love Only-The Poetry of Relationships

Author: Caroline Nderitu

Publisher: Caroline Communications; 1st edition (January 14, 2007)

Reviewed by: Faith Oneya

Performance Poet Caroline Nderitu is a holder of a Head of State Commendation in arts and culture, Kenyatta University Outstanding young Alumni award and Eve Woman of the Year– Arts. She has published three books-Caroline Verses, Play Your Drum and Love Only.

Caroline Nderitu’s relentless optimism and infectious enthusiasm for words and rhyme are the most consistent things about this poetry collection.

The poetry collection is delivers a blend of themes on love. Infatuations, Heartbreaks, Triumphs are all celebrated alike.

There is the poem Almost Love that captures some simple truths about relationships. Sample this first stanza;

You almost love me

If only I was something else

Maybe more this

Or more the other

Thinner or Wiser

Healthier and Happier

This seemingly happy-go-lucky book could at first be dismissed as frivolous in its topic of choice. The red cover could limit one’s imagination to thinking the book is just about romantic love. One begins to see the depth of the book in some of the themes that the author chooses to address like one-sided  love, abusive relationships etc:

Sample a few lines from her poem: Not Worth It

……..

If you refuse to meet me

Halfway

But place a mirror in my face

To feed me

With my own scars

If all you do is un-build

The broken pieces I merge

If I can lay down my life

Entwine it with yours …

Then there are poems written tongue-in-cheek: The Big O!( Not what you think it is…lol). You would have to read to find out!

All in all, the poet succeeds in her effort to explore, and richly so, the theme of love. Her vast experience as a performing poet (Over thirty years) are brought to bear through her lyrical poems, some of which seem like they would gain more from performance than just sitting idle in pages.

It must be mentioned that the poetry in the book often suffers from over-enthusiastic and what appears to be forced rhyme in some cases. One might even call them  ‘success-card like’ which is an unfair way of presenting  poetry to an audience with discerning taste. Allow me to demonstrate in the following poem titled

     Hear Dear

I want you to be near,

Dear,

I’d like you here,

Dear,

But Dear,

I fear

….

If there will be a reprint of the same (and there should be), then much better editing and revisions are needed in some of the poems to justify the hundreds of hard-earned shillings that any eager poetry lover will spend on the book.

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Author: Faith Oneya

Lover of the written and spoken word.

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