My Very Long & Ranty Book Review of “the road to us” by sb. Maamari

the road to us - cover

Title – the road to us

Author – sb. Maamari

This is the story of a first love.

This is the story of a first heartbreak.

And this is the story of two people who simply couldn’t rewrite the stars.

sb. Maamari debut poetry book deals with first intimacy experiences, emotional abuse, trauma, survival, and how love can change a person, for the worst or for the better. Each chapter serves a different story. Each chapter is set in a different time. But all chapters lead to the road of surviving the impossible. Sometimes love can be magical, and out of this world, but can lead to nowhere. This is the road of us.

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Book Review

I love poetry that I can connect with. I believe poetry can come out or be written in any form. Poetry that will touch a part of you and make you understand and appreciate the beauty and the power of words when beautifully and artfully strung together.

I was given this book by the author, who emailed me and I was in a YAY BOOKS mood, because, well I decided to read the book, after exchanging some emails with the author, because from the blurb to the description and the few poems I had seen it looked very promising.

This book, which I can’t really call a poetry book, more like a contemporary novella with a feel of poetry is divided into six chapters which are walking, running, crawling, burning and rising, with rising divided into part i and part ii.

This book is a personal account, kind of like a diary. The first part walking, starts from the beginning—it’s a story of falling for someone, the start of or the build-up to a meaningful or life-changing relationship. Then this chapter ends with indecision, broken but not apart. The start of a love triangle.

I can say that walking is my one and only favourite chapter in the whole book. Because from the other chapters forward, I spied so many red flags. In running, the second chapter the focus is on love and how the person who pens these entries is in love with a man. It’s clear as day he isn’t as emotionally invested into the relationship as she is, and is painfully holding on to a relationship, that is causing so much grief to both parties. What I didn’t like henceforth is how from her writing, sb. Maamari is implying that love heals everything, like love, is the ultimate solution. When a relationship needs more than just love to be right or for it to survive, there’s no respect in this relationship and it was quite saddening and alarming to read, the pining over a man, that’s clearly not worth pining over to anyone.

crawling started and I could see how sb. Maamari’s heart was breaking and how instead of trying to move forward, she was torturing herself with her love for the man. This is when I couldn’t stand the narrative, I was confused because why is she putting herself through this? It’s like with each chapter, her state of sanity deteriorates because of so-called love. But I don’t believe it to be love, really because love isn’t like this. crawling to me, became an unhealthy obsession, a toxic substance that was not needed. She knew it wasn’t healthy but still choose to oblige and indulge in, because of hope? I know everyone goes through break-ups differently but, this is quite a state, and I don’t think anyone should ever let themselves get this far removed from reality, especially when one is capable of being sane and reasonable.

The fourth chapter burning is all about sexual desire + re-awakening of old memories of the man, where she misses him so badly and is talking about how they used to please each other and how she is the only one he thinks about when he’s with the other woman. At this stage, she knows their relationship isn’t healthy but toxic but yet still, after the emotional trauma and abuse she has put herself through because of him, for he might have put her through hell by starting a relationship with her, when he knew he couldn’t fully commit, but the whole book is about how she puts the blame on him, for the suffering which she is putting herself through, because at the end she still wants him, and when he comes back begging she says no, but still pins over him. Come on.

The story doesn’t get better, it get’s worse and it’s all so confusing because we get to a point where the entries are contradicting a previous entry, where instead of coming out strong as it is meant to be it reads as pathetic. Where she is saying oh yes I am stronger now and I won’t succumb to my feelings, and a couple of chapters in she’s justifying why she succumbs, I wish I could point out examples, but I shall not.

I really have a bad taste in my mouth for both part i and ii of rising because in them she finally remembers that she is important, but then in doing so, is bashing other women that may be associated with the man in the future, just because he isn’t with her. She calls a woman a “bitch” why though? Why blame the women, when it’s the man you have an issue with? I just don’t condone people in relationships taking out their cheating problems on the person who their partner is cheating on instead of their partner, especially when they don’t even know the middle person in the relationship.

It grated me wrong as she continued to praise herself, putting herself as the best of all women and how much better she was. I feel you can praise yourself, while also uplifting other people, especially women, it’s a beautiful thing. This book just added to the stigma around unnecessary girl-on-girl hate in books.

There’s also a part about how her natural beauty beats that of the made-up face of the other woman any day. I get it, it’s self-love, but this is supposed to be poetry and I feel like, it’s also saying that people who wear makeup aren’t pretty and people who go with their natural beauty are the only pretty or sexy ones. I don’t know if that’s the case but it rubbed me wrong because I feel like it’s taking away a choice, makeup doesn’t only make us look glamorous but it boosts self-confidence and many other things, I just don’t like the contrast between the two, because it’s throwing shade to makeup wearers.

I feel this mentality that the next person your ex-dates after you is a “downgrade” has to go, who are you to judge another person, when you’ll never know what it’s like to be in their shoes, or have a clue how their life really is? I got so mad after I read that word. It’s good to be self-loving and have self-confidence, but also be humble.

Reading the two last chapters I felt bad for the man because he had to put up with her and her clingy undying love for him. I don’t really think he did anything wrong, because he broke their relationship apart, I don’t think he deserves this emotional guilt, that this very long, and repetitive book of entries with really no sequence discloses to us. Because even after four or five years now, she isn’t over him and isn’t releasing them to actually move on with their lives.

I started off reading this book being intrigued, but the further I went through it, the red flags it began to raise and I slowly stopped trying to digest the entries, as only a few of them I could say I really liked, and the point of view in which the stories are told and the pronouns used, is why I can’t really outrightly call this book a poetry book. It’s not something most of us can relate with, because it’s the author talking about her relationship with an ex of hers and it goes from lovely, sorrow, pettiness and overdoing of self-confidence, it can be classified as emotional abuse? It gets to a point the book reads as if the poet is bashing other people to make herself feel important.

I got to a point I was hurried reading the entries and skipping some because they were too long, and well it was like verse prose, which wasn’t gelling so well with each other. At the end of the book I came to the realization that she may never get over her ex and that’s okay, because people different and it’s a nice message, but I feel this book could have been executed better, because there are wonderful illustrations in it, and I think this book is self-published because I noticed some errors in it, and it won’t be so nice if the PDF file I was provided with is a finished copy, because in the printed copies of this book the errors will be relayed to whoever buys the book.

2.5

Disclaimer: I’m entitled to my own opinion, and it is my duty to both myself, my blog and readers I am absolutely honest about my feelings when reviewing a book, with that said, just because I didn’t really enjoy this book, it doesn’t mean another person will not find it interesting or very relatable.

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author

About the Author

sb. Maamari is a Syrian-Canadian poet, writer and visionary creator. she embodies the soul of a true artist. she has been writing since the age of ten, and she hasn’t stopped ever since. at twenty-four years old, this young poet aims to bring back classic poetry and merge it with the modern one. her style of writing is inspired by the great talents of Shakespeare, Maya Angelou, Oscar Wilde and Pablo Neruda, just to name a few. she hopes that her words pierce everyone’s souls and not just their hearts. she has many ambitions in this world, and she knows that she will achieve them all. her next chapter in life will be to create music that plays the melody of her words.

Lara Kareem

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