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Reviewed by Tanja Jurkovic for Readers' Favorite
Secrets Make You Sick, an atmospheric and soul-searching poetry collection by Sarah Erin, consists of twenty honest poems that explicitly explore difficult themes such as mental illness, PTSD, rape, and identity. In a realistic and in-your-face way, Sarah Erin describes the harsh reality of living with painful experiences and trauma in today's relentless and often unkind world. The emotions she conveys in each of the poems are strong, real, and above all human, and this can be felt with each word coming to life on every page of this collection. Every poem can be read as a standalone piece; however, the complete set wonderfully tells a story of a life full of struggles, pain, darkness, and mental health issues, but also hope and self-discovery.
One of the poems that made the biggest impression on me was Panic & Other Bedtime Stories as it is relatable and describes moments of panic that we have all experienced at least once in our lives. Sarah Erin paints this moment vividly and so strongly that it felt very real while reading, also denoting that one is at war with all these feelings of panic and anxiety. This poem further implies that we should keep fighting for ourselves, especially in moments like these. The poems that followed were so high in emotion that it was almost hypnotizing to read. The words form a rollercoaster of feelings that keep the reader company right to the very end of the collection. A tough, but inspirational and much-needed read, Secrets Make You Sick will make one think about today's world and will entice the reader to explore the intricacies of mental health, and the decision to be more kind to oneself as well as to others. Remarkably gritty, provocative, and realistic, this collection is a must-read journey into self-discovery and self-care. It shares relatable emotions that we all feel or have felt amidst the change in ourselves and the world around us.