BOOK OF THE WEEK
Let’s hear it for a new week! It’s Monday, so I have a new book to share with you. My friend Ashley @spookishmommy chose this book for her #BookishTrueCrime book club so it was high time I picked it up. The first thing that most people learn about me as a reader is I tend to go in blind. I knew very little about Cynthia Pelayo or her poetry book. However, I heard the buzz words “true crime” so in my cart it went.
Cynthia Pelayo’s Into the Forest and all the Way Through is a true crime themed book of poetry. I really enjoy reading poetry, especially because it’s so personal. It’s personal to the writer yes, but it’s also personal to the reader. It’s beautiful language stitched together in the most artistic way, and that’s not easy to do. Cynthia Pelayo astounds me with her talent. To create thoughtful poems with well researched facts about actual victims, and to do it so exquisitely, is beyond anything I’ve read.
This isn’t just a book of poetry, it’s a list of missing and murdered women in the United States that have long been forgotten. Not forgotten by their loved ones of course, but by law enforcement, witnesses, citizens, etc. There are 142 cases here and each one is handled with care. The words Pelayo writes are haunting, devastating, and heart-rending.
Another remarkable aspect of this collection is the clear underlying message. Women and girls are forced to live by a different set of rules and must do so with a healthy amount of fear. As women we have to be on high alert and constantly be aware of our surroundings, but with a balance so we don’t become paranoid or paralyzed. And sadly, Native American, Black, Asian, and Hispanic women are targeted at a much higher rate. This collection puts these issues on center stage, dealing with how we treat our women and girls, racial injustice, and long overdue change.
The poems are listed in order by state and at the end of each one Pelayo includes facts about the case along with the investigating phone number. I recognized a few cases, especially one that happened in California, portrayed in The Demons You Live With. Honestly, anything involving children sticks in my soul.
The concept is inventive, incredibly important, and a lovely tribute to those lost and to those they left behind. The cover art by Kealan Patrick Burke perfectly matches this heartfelt collection, with a blurb from him on the back cover. I read Into the Forest and all the Way Through from beginning to end in a single sitting. As Pelayo commands with her emotional introduction, I gave these women my undivided attention. If you are a true crime buff, a lover of poetry, or a concerned citizen, read this collection now. I hope you are wrecked by it as much as I am.
Happy Monday y’all! See you next week!
Janelle Janson @ She Reads with Cats