Book Review: 13

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.

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