A book review. 

I have a personal rule: Listen to non-fiction and read fiction. Don’t ask me where I came up with this idea. I realize now how dumb this is. Just like the rule I had where I only read non-fiction because I thought reading fiction was a waste of time. Well, as my life changed in July of 2018 so did my reading habits. I found myself without time to read or to listen to my audiobooks. As a result, I managed to accumulate a dozen audible credits, as I am a subscriber. Then, I joined the gym and all of a sudden I had time to listen again but still not the time to read. So I decided to break my dumb rule.

I read some reviews about The Poet X on Goodreads, and many of them raved about the audiobook. After listening to Amanda Palmer’s The Art of Asking, I knew what a joy it was to listen to a performer’s book. I downloaded it, put my headphones on, got under the barbell and went to Harlem hang out with Xiomara.

The words were beautiful. The story engaged me. The cadence almost had me bobbing my head as if I was listening to Nuthin But A G Thang by Dr. Dre. The experience was so pleasurable that it had sitting in my driveway like Mona used to do waiting for her favorite song to end — her hand on the key waiting for that last note before she turned it off. Most of all, what impressed me the most was how Elizabeth’s words made me feel.

I’m a 44-year-old male who grew up in Southern California and a small town in Missouri. I have never been a 16-year-old Dominican girl from Harlem. I’ve never been frustrated with how I was treated because if my developed body. I have never had a twin. I have never kissed a boy for the first time. But now thanks to Elizabeth, I know what it’s like to have all of these experiences. I felt every emotion Xiomara had. I didn’t merely have empathy for the Main Character; I was her.

As a fan and writer of Magical Realism, I loved it when I came across a small hint of it. When Xiomara mentions that her dad gave up music — both listening and dancing to it — to help tame his lustful desires, I had one of those moments where if I were reading the book, I would have put it down and reflected on what I had just read. I feel like I could write a story based on this concept. Thanks, Elizabeth.

Lastly, I was surprised that such a beautiful story could take place in modern time. I thought stories this moving had to take place one-hundred years ago like a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel. Who knew that you could mention Drake and Kendrick Lamar or reference texting or a smartphone and write a story on par with some of the greats.

I usually recommend a book to a specific audience but not this time. This time I recommend it to everyone.


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