13, Alexis Kienlen, Frontenac House Ltd., 2011, ISBN: 978-1-897181-53-9
Reviewed by: R.D. Girvan
Originally Published in The Spruce Grove Examiner, October 2012
I was introduced to Alexis Kienlen, poet, fiction writer, editor and journalist, when she appeared as one of the panel members at the 2012 LitFest Event, “Author Promotion in a Digital Age”. I was impressed with the way she expressed herself verbally, in terms of both speed and clarity. I bought her latest book, 13, a follow up to She Dreams in Red.
I am very glad I did. 13 addresses issues such as childhood depression and the loss of love openly, truthfully and without self-pity. Even given the often dark subject matter, Kienlen managed to produce a book that is also playful; there is a whimsical yet compelling section on the inner musings of a queen bee. My favorite poem is called “clue”, one of the pieces that use children’s board games to speak to adult issues, laying the teen/grown-up transition bare upon the page.
I recommend this book because of Kienlen’s searing honesty. Her work is deceptively simple; it is a quick read, and drops like a pebble into the waters of one’s mind. Yet, much later, its ripples continue to spread.