I went into this book completely unaware of the background of this author. She’s young. In fact, she is a well established child actor in Indonesia. And at 18 years old, this isn’t even her first published collection of poetry. Here I am pushing 40 struggling to keep up with my review schedule and this person has a couple books and over 100 movies under her belt. So says the blurb on her newest book’s Amazon page, though a quick google search does not confirm that claim. Still, even one movie and a pile of poetry is an accomplishment for anyone. Good for her!
When the Dark Spoke to Me begins with a trigger warning. This book contains themes of Death and suicidal ideation, reader discretion advised. As a person who often thinks about death and suicide, this was appreciated. Sometimes you just don’t want to deal with those themes and that’s okay.
Sometimes though, I’m feeling numb and want to feel something, so I read stuff that may break my heart. Sometimes I want that.
Unfortunately this is not what I was hoping. I read reviews that said it reads like it was written by someone wise behind their years, but I’m not seeing it. It reads very much like it was written by a teenager, because it was. Reading this reminded me of reading my old Livejournal posts. Cringe city. There’s a whole section addressed to Death, referring to Death as her first love that reminds me of being a teenager and exploring darker themes while learning to cope with depression.
There are also glimmers of…something. She is asking questions and writing her way to the answers she seeks. There’s one called The Gifted Kid Burnout that sets the stage for the rest of the collection. You can tell she is trying so hard not to burn out while processing her trauma at the same time.
⭐️⭐️⭐️ for me. It’s not bad. I think younger readers in the same stage of their lives as the author would find this collection more relatable.
Big thanks to Christabelle Marbun, Andrews McMeel Publishing, and NetGalley for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review. You can buy When the Dark Spoke to Me, by Christabelle Marbun on Amazon in multiple formats beginning October 11.