Broken Pieces by Rachel Thompson

In Broken Pieces, available at Amazon, Rachel Thompson proves extremely eloquent at sharing experiences of fear and trauma, and how she comes out the far side.

She details abusive relationships in harrowing and frightening detail. She discusses stress, and coping mechanisms, and medication, and healing. Most of the pieces are about past abuse, or love, or stalking, or her fears for children – and men are usually to blame. Even rebound relationships feature, with a poetic beauty that could echo the adage that All’s fair in love and war. 

Thompson would not fall into the women’s literature or chick lit categories. I was surprised by this book. Thompson’s other work sometimes analyses gender dynamics through the prism of humor with expertise. Although few would deny they’re pretty easy to figure out, she clearly understands and critiques men through hilarious insights in a way that is rare. This book could be regarded as the shadow side of this satire.
The fragmentary nature to the collection – in keeping with its title – makes it easy enough to dip in and out, to take a poem or an essay at a time. That’s not to suggest that each standalone piece is not a rounded gem, compositionally; it’s just that often each piece or poem is very different to the ones surrounding it.
No bad thing to be capable of writing in any number of styles, it allows Thompson to include experiences that are forensic in detail, while describing others through an ephemeral, airy and impressive employment of poetic licence. There is light and hope here, and – despite some horrific experiences – Thompson doesn’t play the victim. Didactic elements are more of the leading by example kind than the instructional rulebook.
Broken Pieces is worth reading. You can get it at Amazon.

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