A Step Back

Non-Fiction - Memoir
92 Pages
Reviewed on 02/03/2021
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Mamta Madhavan for Readers' Favorite

A Step Back by Amy Jean is an engaging and insightful compilation of poetry and prose that is profound and thought-provoking and will encourage readers to reflect on the vagaries, nuances, complexities, and fragilities that life throws at them. The poet/author recollects the places she has been, the things she has done, where she excelled and where she failed, the joy she felt, and the joy she gave to others as she tries to discover life. Every poem, every prose piece, deals with diverse emotions, enhanced by photos and illustrations that make the connection palpable and relatable to readers.

I immensely enjoyed Amy Jean's way of tackling her emotions. The fine combination of poetry, prose, and images in this memoir will leave readers thinking about their emotions and life in general. The poems that are written for her sons, 'A Sacred Love' and 'Love Celebrations,' express the idea of love and the connection of two souls in an achingly beautiful way. The sections Love, Weight, Face, Truth, Time, Lessons, Fantacity, Dreams, and Fabric have excellent thoughts and input from the author that will make readers look at the profundities of those emotions and analyze them without being too harsh and judgmental. There are many other poems that fall under different sections to reveal the author's mind and thoughts, and the emotional cage she lived in. Her observations on true love are relatable, and readers also learn about her love for pets. I found A Step Back refreshingly different and the author's honesty and perception of various emotions are worth mentioning.

Jacob R LaMar

A Step Back is a poetic memoir written by Amy Jean and designed by Eric Savage. The book focuses on topics such as love, truth, and time and tasks the reader with finding the true meaning for each of these concepts. As readers, we get to see the lessons that the author has learned through the years and place ourselves in her shoes. The book begins with a page called Amy’s Dictionary followed by a table of contents where I appreciated, in particular, the use of large fonts for easy reading. Amy Jean writes an introduction where she shares one of her dreams and a piece on her outlook on life. This is followed by the meat of the book, the passages of poetry and prose the author has chosen to share with us all.

To start with, A Step Back is a beautifully formatted book with the pictures forming around the words and the text returning the favor. This allows the book to look unique and different on each page to hold the reader's attention. I enjoyed gaining insight into the author's life with each new part and welcomed the use of internal rhymes to make the whole book feel a bit like a piece of def poetry. The use of illustration was masterfully crafted to fit the book. I could not say enough good things about the visual aspects of A Step Back and both Amy Jean and Eric Savage should be proud of the project they put together. I would recommend this book to poetry lovers everywhere or anyone who is a fan of spoken word poetry.

Tammy Ruggles

A Step Back by Amy Jean is a unique memoir that moves and inspires. Part poetry, part prose, the author takes you on her journey through words, images, and definitions, hoping that you will find yourself reflected in them. Some of the passages convey emotional pain and heavy themes such as wanting to die, while other sections are lighter, therefore running the spectrum of emotions. Anyone going through the stress, anxiety, and helplessness/hopelessness of physical or emotional pain will be able to relate to the themes presented here. I admire the author's bravery in wanting to be so honest, and also her willingness to find glimmers of light in her suffering. Her descriptions of dreams and visions are vivid and possibly symbolic of her life, and it will perhaps cause you to recall some of your own dreams. She wonders why the visions haven't come true in her life, and this is only the beginning of the questions she asks herself.

I really enjoy poetry, and Amy Jean has a way of getting to the heart of experiences and putting them into words in such a lovely way. Her definitions of the different types of love will resonate with her readers, and so will the unique words she has invented and defines. Images accompany the text and serve to enhance without intruding. I like the part where she talks of her love for her sons and the fact that she has loved men deeply but has never felt the same level in return. Her descriptions of a wedding are sweet and heartfelt, and she isn't afraid to say that love hurts sometimes. If you like slice-of-life poetry and prose that will cause you to think and feel, and that is universal yet personal, A Step Back by Amy Jean is waiting for you.