Darkness Settles

This Is My Rebirth

Poetry - General
87 Pages
Reviewed on 09/10/2021
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Carolina Restrepo for Readers' Favorite

Gail Marie delights us with her life’s story through heart-wrenching poems that not only make you re-evaluate your life but also be appreciative of the one you already have. These poems are filled with love, sorrow, hate, traumas, childhood, diseases, and their endless ramifications in someone’s life, in this case, Gail and her family. Even though it all sounds like a terrible and sad story, there is light at the end of the tunnel. It is accompanied by many life lessons for every single person out there who happens to read this story. Gail demonstrates that even though life is hard and perhaps cruel, perseverance and determinism take you a long way into a better and bright future.

Reading this not only broke me but woke me up. Life can’t go by any longer without us appreciating the good things in our lives the moment they are happening; we should cherish those moments as they are happening instead of remembering them. After reading this I can say I am lucky enough to have been able to go to the other room and hug my mom. In many ways, I feel connected to the writer and some of her feelings and experiences. This collection of poems is a raw telling of Gail's life, and it deserves praise and respect. It must have been hard to write this and publish it for the world to see. Gail's story came to me when I most needed it and I can't be happier to have read it and made it part of my life.

Jessica Barbosa

Darkness Settles: This Is My Rebirth is a nonfiction book written by Gail Marie from a first-person perspective. Huntington’s Disease is a terrifying disease caused by a faulty gene and can cause changes in movement, learning, thinking, and emotions. Living with it means having to adapt to change. This faulty gene can be inherited, and it is a constant shadow that follows Gail’s family. Gail has grown up in a toxic environment, gone through a harsh childhood, and has been in abusive relationships. When she is looking forward to a bright future ahead of her, her deepest fears are realized, and she is diagnosed with Huntington’s.

Darkness Settles is an emotional and heart-wrenching tale of Gail’s story and journey in life. Some chapters are peppered with poems that capture the raw emotions Gail wishes to express as she lives through her days one step at a time. Gail Marie’s writing is honest and deep, unafraid to voice her thoughts during the most memorable and saddening moments of her life. She shows us her bravery and fear in this book, and I could feel her strength in her vulnerability. Reading her story is eye-opening. I learned about Huntington’s and also the effects it could have on people’s lives. It is rare to have such a personal understanding and glimpse of a person’s life. I can only imagine how difficult it is to relive these painful moments as they are written down. I couldn’t help but place myself in the author’s shoes, and I admire her for forging her own path despite the obstacles along the way.

One of the lines that stuck with me from the book is this: ‘I was born and raised by monsters, but that doesn’t mean I must become them.’ Gail had to become stronger for herself to look forward to the future despite everything she has been through. She keeps going and refuses to surrender, determined to rise above the hate and drama, determined to look forward as she charts her future. The book ends with a chapter titled ‘Eutopia,’ showing us that there is a light at the end of the tunnel as long as you have hope. Gail has taught me that ‘happiness is pursued,’ and even in the darkest of times, you can get back up again as long as you choose to. I found Darkness Settles: This Is My Rebirth by Gail Marie to be an eye-opening read, full of lessons I will never forget.

Jamie Michele

Darkness Settles: This Is My Rebirth by Gail Marie is a compilation of original poetry detailing the author's life. The book is broken down into four distinct and interconnected parts, each prefaced with an account of what the next stage of the poet's anthology embodies. These include A Monstrous Affair, Lifting the Veil, Emergence, and, finally, Rebirth. Within each, Marie dives deeply into a heart-breaking world of extreme pain, unimaginable abuse, neglect, and violence, illness, and loss. The verses can be terrifying, such as in Enraged, where the extreme fear of a young girl leaving her room at night to use the bathroom is met with the actualization when her father savagely abuses her. There is also room for moments of peace such as in I am a Nightchild, where the nightly horrors of the past no longer have the ability to destroy the nightly freedom she enjoys now.

The only way to describe the eloquent work in Darkness Settles is "Woah." Gail Marie is a stellar poet who composes on a pedestal of power after trauma that would crush others who might have found themselves in similar circumstances. I admit I had never even heard of Huntington's disease before cracking this golden egg open, and the revelation as it piles onto the other atrocities in Marie's life rub just more salt in the wound. By the time I had reached The Move, I was wholly submerged in tears. I cried. A lot. But this particular piece shattered my own heart. Her mother is in the advanced stages of the genetic disease, and Marie's tyrant father has already moved on, his first wife relegated to a nursing home. The speed at which she is replaced while still alive and in the clutches of death is vile. It's just too much for a sensitive soul, and Marie's survival is extraordinary. This is not a light read, but it is most certainly a worthy one, and my heart has been so deeply pierced. Very highly recommended.