Secrets Make You Sick

Poetry - Inspirational
94 Pages
Reviewed on 11/08/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

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.

Pikasho Deka

Sarah Erin's Secrets Make You Sick is an introspective poetry collection that delves into some heavy subject matter. These poems touch upon topics such as mental illness, sexual assault, psychoanalysis, alcoholism, drug addiction, and much more. In "Hazel Nuts," the narrator shares how bipolar disorder creates such extreme mood swings and turbulent behavior that it takes them from manic highs to depressive lows, with alcohol and pharmaceutical drugs worsening the condition. The narrator offers readers a glimpse into the headspace of a person going through an anxiety attack in "Panic and Other Bedtime Stories." "AP Parently Not" is a harrowing account of a miscarriage and its accompanying trauma. In "Skinny Shame," the narrator reveals their struggles with eating disorders and body dysmorphia and how it crushed their self-esteem and confidence.

This is the second poetry collection I've read by Sarah Erin, and the themes and narrative tone couldn't be more different from her previous collection. Secrets Make You Sick is an unflinchingly raw and unabashedly brutal collection that doesn't shy away from exploring the darker aspects of life. This collection is not for everyone, but if you're a fan of thought-provoking poetry that examines the human condition through darker themes such as mental illnesses, sexual assault, self-harm, pain, loss, and grief, Secrets Make You Sick will be right up your alley. Erin maintains her unique poetic flair with non-rhyming verses and experimental structures and forms. One of my personal favorites from this collection was "Grandmotherless Girls," a poem laden with grief and anguish over the loss of one's grandmother. I highly recommend this collection to readers who aren't triggered by sensitive subject matter.

Natalie Soine

Secrets Make You Sick by Sarah Erin delves into her personal experiences and emotions. She explores themes such as family, loss, mental health, body image, and the struggle for self-acceptance through heartfelt verses. The poems touch on topics like resilience, eating disorders, and the complexity of dealing with personal trauma. Sarah opens up about her struggles and how she's coped with them, sharing raw and unfiltered emotions that resonate with the reader. From the loss of loved ones to the challenges of dealing with societal expectations, Sarah's poetry is a poignant and honest reflection of her life's journey. While some of the subject matter may be heavy and somber, there's a sense of hope and determination in the poet's words.

Sarah Erin’s willingness to share her struggles adds a layer of authenticity to her work that is both relatable and deeply moving. Through her poems, Sarah takes readers on a journey through the highs and lows of her life, offering an unfiltered view of her world. The themes tackled in this collection are not easy ones to address, but Sarah approaches them with grace and candor. Her writing style is emotive, and her words have the power to evoke a strong emotional response in the reader. The poems are a blend of vulnerability and resilience, capturing the complexities of life's challenges and the human spirit's capacity to endure and overcome. I appreciate learning from Sarah that “Loss can be a catalyst for many a mental illness” and Secrets Make You Sick.