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Reviewed by Constance Stadler for Readers' Favorite
The Dr. Seuss quote at the beginning of Things of Little Consequence introduces aspects of the book’s theme. John Casey contends that complex questions—often with questionable motives—should be answered with direct, honest simplicity. Little consequence refers to common perceptions deemed to be culturally insignificant that are, in fact, most needed. In four sections, the book seeks to expose the chronic diminution of others and pose ways to live authentically. Embedded modes of measuring success through conquering, regardless of casualties, are depicted as toxic. The pathos of demeaning those with much to offer who, because of outward appearance, are professionally disregarded is challenged. At the same time, appreciating all the riches in your life is celebrated. Looking inward, ‘prayer is a rehearsal of truth’ is as revealing a phrase as it is memorable.
One of the many strengths of the book is the absence of dogma. Alternative thinking invites reconsideration of selfhood. Life changes when we understand the importance of the present moment and connect to others with openness in a way that rejects bias, labeling, or arbitrary dismissal. There is a warning to avoid yielding to facile assumptions and affirmations that real love is a means of validation. By affirming the ongoing need for personal development, John Casey has written poetry of worth beyond its appeal to poetry lovers or those with a like-minded mindset. It potentially offers a different way of living for those forming life patterns. In reflectively probing what it means to be human, Things of Little Consequence both realizes and transcends a work of exceptional art.