Title: Pillow Thoughts
Author: Courtney Peppernell
Pillow Thoughts is a collection of poetry and prose about heartbreak, love and raw emotions. It is divided into sections to read when you feel you need them most. Make a cup of tea and let yourself feel.
Before anything else, a full disclosure: I was supposed to participate in a promotional blog tour for this book, which is why I received a copy of it. However, as evidenced by my star rating, I most certainly did not enjoy reading it, and as such, I decided to forfeit my slot in the tour. Still, many thanks to my friend, Rafael from The Royal Polar Bear Reads, for providing a review copy.
All right, give me some much needed space to rant about how awful this collection is. Seriously, how this book was able to receive numerous positively glowing reviews is beyond the capacity of my comprehension.
First of all, I would never, in a million years, classify any of the pieces in Pillow Thoughts as poetry. Never ever. Why? Poetry is defined as, according to this particular dictionary, “the art of rhythmical composition, written or spoken, for exciting pleasure by beautiful, imaginative, or elevated thoughts”. Were any of the compositions rhythmical? Nope. Beautiful? Nope. Imaginative? Nope. At the very least, were the thoughts expressed in the pieces elevated? Let me answer by quoting an actual “poem” from the collection:
in the end
as in you and me
meant to be
I can’t be the only one who cringed, yes? But I digress.
Reading Pillow Thoughts felt like reading a poorly written self-help book that was given to me as a last-minute Christmas gift by an extremely distant, poetically illiterate aunt. Most of the pieces utilized plain language without an ounce of figurative speech, allusions or vivid imagery. Everything was expressed in such a straightforward manner that the supposed “poetry” lost the lyrical essence poems are supposed to have. Instead of evocative verses and thoughtful stanzas, the collection offered ridiculously watered down metaphors that weren’t even cohesive with each other. It seemed like they were sprinkled over the text without much thought or larger purpose. Furthermore, the ideas and emotional sentiments were presented in a very superficial way, which consequently led to content that had an extremely generic and shallow feel.
Structure-wise, the pieces basically consisted of awful segmented sentences. I could not identify any semblance of rhythm or deliberate metering in the way the verses were constructed. More often than not, it was as if the author just kept randomly hitting the “enter” button on the keyboard in order to force the text to form the framework of poems. But here’s the thing, okay:
Making your sentences
look like this
does not necessarily
or any kind of literary work
that’s worth reading
to be honest.
Some of the poems were even written in this way.
Each stanza was a collection of punctuated sentences.
These sentences were separated into different lines to look like verses.
Just as how I’m typing this review right now.
Are you fucking kidding me?
Would you care for a few examples? Yes? Okay, hold on. Let me scavenge some trash from 260 bloody pages I actually wasted my time on.
You remind me that my heart is still alive
Because every time you come home
it beats so hard
it brings me back to life
Sometimes I wonder of all the goodbyes you’ve ever said, if
mine is the one you can’t get out of your head.
Yes, please do feed us more generic and blatantly shallow lines.
I never really knew how much the heart breaks
until I was lying next to you
and you were thinking about someone else
Am I the only one who realizes that this is just one chopped up sentence?
Of all the maps in the world, the only one I will follow is the map to your heart.
Not entirely sure if legitimate poem or awfully cheesy Hallmark card.
And my frustration (and unreserved anger) does not end there! Another problem I had with Pillow Thoughts is the fact that the themes tackled by the book were repetitive and annoyingly circular. I honestly don’t understand why anyone bothered to categorize the pieces into different sections because they overlapped one another and practically talked about the same things. What’s the point, really?
Truth be told, I can probably go on and on about how mediocre and embarrassing this literary monstrosity is because God knows I never thought I’d ever find a poetry book that I would end up loathing more than the collections written by Lang Leav. However, there are much more important things for me to accomplish than to waste so many words on a book that shouldn’t even warrant any positive attention. To summarize everything, Pillow Thoughts is a portfolio of generic content framed using totally obsolete structures. Structurally, it’s atrocious. Lyrically, it’s atrocious. Stylistically, it’s atrocious. Perhaps the only remotely positive thing I can say is that I am incredibly blessed to have received only a digital copy of this book; otherwise, had I been given a physical copy, I would have grieved for the trees that died and ultimately lost my shit altogether.
Allow me to formally end this review by highlighting the most ridiculously awful passage I’ve ever encountered in my life:
I asked you to ride shotgun with me.
I didn’t say hold the shotgun to my heart and
pull the trigger.
I shit you not, people.
Excerpt from the book:
I know there isn’t a thing
I could say
to make the thoughts in your head
but I hope you know
that above all the things
running through your head
sometimes it’s about
what runs in your heart instead
and if there’s anything I know
about the things inside
it’s that they are beautiful things
and strong things
and things that will always
and if the things in your head
seem a little messy
and the things in your heart
weigh a little heavy
just know that you’ll beat
all of these things
and I’ll always love you
even with all your things
This initially started off as a regular book review; however, with the (still) increasing amount of rage I have, my critique quickly escalated into an informal rant. Halfway through writing this, I realized that Pillow Thoughts was the perfect candidate for my first ever Shealea reacts post. I opted against altering the post’s structure into something that’s more like a discussion or informal commentary because 1) that would have taken a substantial amount of effort I don’t have, and 2) this book does not deserve that much effort from me to begin with.