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Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite
Verses (The Harmony, Discourse and Undivided Pursuit of Wholeness) by Jewel Caston-Mendoza comprises the penned emotions and thoughts of a lover, wife, mother, and most importantly a woman whose life is chronicled in emotive verses. Divided into seven chapters and visualized by Chantece Dayshon Mendoza’s illustrations, the titles themselves reflect the themes in the poems. Once Upon A Time reminisces about past bliss and love. The innocent ‘Wake up, little ones’ instantly reminds me of my childhood, a time when waking up means dealing with another day of school on weekdays, wondering if the parents are willing to let you sleep in on weekends or feeling generous and will take the family out to town. The lines of “There’s a beautiful world \ Out there \ Waiting for you” and “The sun is up \ The moon is tired now \ If we were in the country \ I’d milk the cow” are powerful enough to motivate this non-morning person to seize the day early and not waste another 5 minutes in bed.
From a loving couple to an estranged relationship, Changes/Bare Truths is the downward turn－“Your sideward glance \ Told me more than your spoken word \ Said \ It told me I was \ No longer your queen”. What follows after is the continuous search for love, battling obstacles which leads to self-acceptance and the freeing element of moving on, “Beauty is deeper than the ugliness I see – day by day \ I am beautiful”. Then there’s the “Heartbeat of the Nation”, reflecting on the current political situations and the frustrations on the continuous issues of the people of color in America. All in all, Jewel Caston-Mendoza’s Verses is bluntly personal and honest; it’s for “all the women who have been jaded one time or another”.