Unexpected Alchemy

Poems of Addiction and Awakening

Poetry - Inspirational
87 Pages
Reviewed on 01/15/2022
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Carolina Restrepo for Readers' Favorite

Skye Nicholson brings to life a compilation of poems that reach into your heart, shake it up, and put it back. These poems are somewhat the reincarnation of Kate Chopin’s awakenings. It becomes very easy to feel what the author portrays in her poems. Her words go beyond addiction and awakening; there is a truth hidden behind her words that will resonate with many. Skye explains in clear and concise words the many types of addiction. This compilation of poems is a wake-up call for everyone out there who is blinded by love, drugs, and all the other soul-sucking addictions. This is one for the masses, it shoots at you, but instead of killing you, it wakes you up. Talk about awakenings!

It is quite amazing how Skye Nicholson found a way to intertwine alchemy and its processes with addiction and awakenings. I was dumbfounded when I first started reading by how ingenious and perfect this link was; it only became more powerful as the poems continued. The strength behind every poem is astounding, to be able to convey your deep feelings - even though they might be scary - onto paper is a huge step that should be recognized and applauded. The writing strategy of separating the poems by the processes that compose alchemy is modern yet ancient. There are no words for how excited and thankful I am for reading this collection. From this, I take alchemy as a life lesson and metaphor; there are stages in our lives and they happen for the greater good waiting at the end.

Natalie Soine

In her book Unexpected Alchemy, Skye Nicholson shares her incredible sobriety journey from addiction to awakening through stories, poetry, and beautiful illustrations. Over a period of 25 years from 1993 to 2018, Skye traveled the long road from alcoholism to recovery and finally empowerment. Through sheer courage, strength, willpower, and determination, Skye managed to turn her life around while dealing with motherhood, family, and daily life. She likens her journey to Alchemy, “turning a common base metal into something precious and valuable through a good serving of magic, faith, and backbreaking conviction.” Incredibly, Skye is now a certified Recovery Coach through Naked Mind Institute and formed Soul’s Truth Coaching, LLC, an empowerment coaching service for women.

Unexpected Alchemy by Skye Nicholson is far more than a book of poetry. This amazing woman has shared her heart and soul with the rest of the world. Skye has willingly shared her journey with us so that we may gain some insight into her life of addiction and recovery. Skye’s poetry is unusual and thought-provoking with a myriad of subjects and styles. I love the way Skye wraps her stories around Alchemy; she has an astoundingly creative imagination and a way with words. My own opinion is that every person has an addiction – coffee, sugar, work, social media, the list is endless. Skye, like the rest of us, is on a never-ending journey of learning and personal growth. This poignant book of poetry is an absolute must-have on every coffee table. Highly recommended to all adults.

Asher Syed

Unexpected Alchemy: Poems of Addiction and Awakening by Skye Nicholson is a compilation of the author's original poetry, the writing of which was the catalyst for her to seek out more than just sober living, but to actually live well. The work traverses several different styles of free form and ranges in tone, tenor, and length, from the cutting punchiness of Meltdown and its three-word stanzas that detail the abandonment of liquefying soul against the analogy of a snowman to the story-like poem Rearview and the profound heartache it describes at the loss of her father. Intentionally placed throughout are sketches that complement the work by Cheryl Liz Byers.

Under normal circumstances and with a normal book, I would have been able to finish a compilation of less than a hundred pages in a single afternoon. That was not the case here with Unexpected Alchemy. And that is a good thing. Skye Nicholson had me rereading pieces three, sometimes four times in the same sitting. Each time I finished, I'd go back to the top of the page and start again so I might find something new. As a teen of the nineties, my favorite piece was The Steady, written about a lifelong friendship that began in the 90s during a turbulent high school run that turns into a relationship marathon, complete with drink stops and moments where the friends lose one another but always find their way back. This is a gorgeous collection of work and I am so happy it made its way to me. Very highly recommended.