Book Review – The Dilemma by Danielle Holian

books, reviews

wp-15970083190628516603961987131470.jpg 5_star_rating_system_3_stars I have been blogging for almost 10 years now and, when I started, I had no intention of getting anything from it. Okay, maybe I had a ridiculous and kind of mad dream that I would be offered a job as a film critic but I knew that would never happen. Mostly because life isn’t like a Netflix Christmas film. Mostly because there are plenty of people who were actively working towards getting a career in journalism who deserved it more. The point is, I wasn’t expecting to get anything from it. The idea of getting free books hadn’t even crossed my mind. So, when I started being approached by writers with the offer of a free copy in exchange for a review, I was flattered. I also enjoyed getting the chance to help out. We all know that the publishing industry is pretty rubbish and extremely biased. I like getting the chance to help self-published writers. This weekend, I was offered the chance to read the new poetry collection by Danielle Holian. I’m always trying to expand my poetry horizons after all.

As soon as I read poet, Danielle Holian’s, Author’s Note, I knew that I would have to read The Dilemma as soon as possible. The way that she described the feelings that she was going to explore was so enticing. They were also all too familiar and relatable. The life cycle of love is a universal concept and it certainly sounded as if she had an interesting perspective on it.

Experiencing a love that was both beautiful and out of the ordinary, to the point each agony stole a day of my life that I will never get back to relive in a healthier and happier way.

This was going to be a collection that really delved into some very real emotions both good and bad. I started reading immediately and didn’t stop until I’m made it to the end. It was quite a journey.

The Dilemma is a poetry collection that tells the story of one particular relationship. The book has been split into 3 parts as it follows the path the writer took. Starting with The Loving, moving on to The Breaking and ending with The Healing. It will take you through the desire and passion at the beginning of a relationship. Then move onto the hurt and hatred that comes from lies and betrayal. Finally, it will provide a difficult but hopeful resolution as she tries to move forward. Each section offers a different tone to portray the way that the poet was feeling.

Of the three sections, The Breaking feels the strongest. It is packed full of resentment, sadness, and a desire to hold onto what she has. That’s not to say that the first or final sections are weak but they just feel less cohesive. The Loving sometimes delves into schmaltzy territory and it repeats the same kind of sentiments. The Healing is slightly messier thanks to the inevitable confusion that comes with the end of a relationship. I felt as though the poems in The Loving and The Breaking also felt more reminiscent of similar poetry collections. These were the sections that felt more familiar and, as a result, less memorable.

However, I think the collection as a whole was pretty successful. It was wonderful to read something so cohesive and it certainly made it harder to stop reading. The narrative structure was really engaging and felt a lot stronger than many contemporary poetry collections. This is the kind of poetry collection that can be read in a short amount of time but has enough depth to allow for further reading. Many of the poems contain very real and raw emotions that everyone can understand. It’s wonderful and refreshing to see a writer put so much of themselves on the page. Danielle Holian is definitely going to appeal to fans of contemporary poets like Rupi Kaur and Amanda Lovelace.

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