I Hear the Black Raven

A Petite Memoir

Non-Fiction - Memoir
Kindle Edition
Reviewed on 07/28/2021
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jon Michael Miller for Readers' Favorite

Reading I Hear the Black Raven: A Petite Memoir by Claire Ishi Ayetoro is like riding a roller coaster through the mind and creative spirit of a young woman contending with the ups and downs of bipolar disease. A resident of rural Mississippi, Ms. Ayetoro (peace on earth) holds almost nothing back concerning her sexual abuse as a child, her youthful self-discovery in the worlds of art, crafts, music, mechanical engineering, and the bewildering discovery of her mental affliction. The first discovery takes her through a horrendous series of wild events ending with her plunging off a bridge to her near doom. Then, it takes a village of family, doctors, friends, and self-determination to help her slowly navigate through her troubled waters.

Besides her journey toward the peace inferred in the last name she has chosen, I was blown away by the artistry of her story’s arrangement. First, there is the refrain of the raven who visits her at pivotal moments, always leaving a poetic message. The chapter arrangement is similar to a stage drama with a cast, curtain opening, and curtain closing. The bold honesty in her portrayals of manic and depressive incidents includes a description of her suicide attempt that rivals Hamlet’s 'to be or not to be.' Seriously, it’s that good! The writing is fresh, original, clear as the name Claire, and deeply stirring. I Hear the Black Raven: A Petite Memoir is a must-read for those suffering from bipolar disease and anyone close to someone who is. It is the epitome of making lemonade out of lemons. This is the debut piece from author Claire Ishi Ayetoro, and we can only hope for many more to come.

Eeva Lancaster

I Hear the Black Raven is the memoir of a young woman with bipolar disorder. The author, Claire Ishi Ayetoro, bravely shares her life journey with a condition only a few understand. In this book, we get to journey with her as she attempts to unravel the mystery of her ever-changing moods, how it affects her in different situations, and how she tries to find a way to live with it. She describes in detail the see-saw of emotions she went through at different stages of her life, sharing poetic inspirations in between.

Anyone who fears they may have bipolar disorder, has been diagnosed with this condition, or knows someone who does should read I Hear the Black Raven. It reminds me of the book I Never Promised You A Rose Garden. Author Claire Ishi Ayetoro's descriptions of her mood swings, how she tries to control them when they happen, and what she does to rise above them all are absolutely enlightening. Bipolar disorder is hard to understand, and some don't even believe the condition really exists. How can we not control our moods? How can being bipolar ruin a life if left unchecked? But the condition is real, and this book gives precious insight into what goes on inside the mind of someone with bipolar. The inspirational words of the author stayed with me because they are simple, yet profound, and go straight to the heart. Writing this book required bravery and a lot of introspection and I applaud the author for publishing this memoir. Highly recommended read!

Hayley Haun

What does it mean to be mentally ill? So many variables exist. There are differences, and then there are similarities. It is a perpetual learning curve. Despite that, however, the social stigma of mental health continues to move forward. Many people work to break it down and teach society the truth. In light of these arguments and opinions, I Hear the Black Raven by Claire Ishi Ayetoro is a short memoir documenting her life with bipolar disorder. Each step in her life leads to her mental illness, but also, each step helps her overcome the difficulties. The experiences shape her and define her. Such is the life, of course, but slightly tweaked when it comes to life with bipolar disorder.

I Hear the Black Raven has an original composition. Ishi Ayetoro introduces a cast consisting of herself at different stages in her life. Each character takes her on a specific journey through manic highs and lows. The writing was beautiful, and I felt like I was reading poetry. The wording and pace flowed smoothly, and the story, though broken up in parts, did make sense. Her story gave me insight into what it is like to have bipolar disorder, and I admire Ayetoro’s strength and resilience. To see how far she has come is an inspiration. It is thanks to people like her that we have these examples to help us understand the disorder. I appreciate and honor her courage in helping us understand mental illness.


I love the storyline!
I love the poetry!
I love the petite size!
I love the authors stories!
This book takes the reader on a journey of hope, self-help, self care, suicide awareness and the power of forgiveness.
The end ? Or a new beginning?
This is a cat and mouse game, of the relatable experiences of feeling abnormal, having social anxiety, and functioning to maintain mental wellness.
We withhold ourselves from our own happiness.
Through peace, comfort, and the beauty of nature, we can begin healing.