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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.