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Reviewed by Ananya Hazarika for Readers' Favorite
A dark secret, a devastating truth, an identity crisis, choices, fighting depression, and acceptance, Who Am I is a collection of poems and prose by Anvil Long. Anvil, a child of rape, is shocked when he learns the truth about his biological father. This discovery initiates a change in his perception of his identity, and he starts questioning the foundation of his existence as if it were a lie. But when his friend mentions Ben Lerner, Anvil draws inspiration from his poems and starts penning his innermost feelings and confessions. Divided into three parts titled Impetus, Discovery, and Healing, each part is a revelation of his struggles in each phase of denial and acceptance. He shares his experiences of the journey he takes, from being depressed after discovering the truth to healing from trauma and accepting himself as an individual despite bloodlines and lineage. He later realizes that family is not defined by blood, but by choice, love, acceptance, and trust. It is a memoir that is inspiring, motivating, and emotional.
Who Am I is one of the most interesting and sensitive memoirs I have come across in a while. Anvil Long shares his experiences of beating depression by starting to write. His written accounts reveal his deepest feelings, which is proof of the pain he went through. The poems remind me of Wordsworth: "Poetry is the continuous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotions recollected in tranquility." As I kept reading, a few lines from Anvil's poem Finding Myself in Part 3 reminded me of The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost. Anvil finds his love for solo riding on open roads, which finally gives him clarity and the making of his destiny.
Anvil Long sets the perfect example of how we can learn to channel our pain to achieve a greater sense of purpose, achieve freedom, forgive and accept the harshest of truths, and move forward without waiting for society's approval. The flow of his thoughts reflects in his figurative language, and poetic liberty gives him the upper hand to explore various writing styles, doing justice to literature. One should have a copy of this at home as it inspires and gives hope to those that are lost and struggling to connect to their loved ones. It is also proof that writing is another way of coping, which provides one with a sense of ownership of the story.