Book Review – Like a Box of Chocolates by Justin Bienvenue

★★★★ 3.5 Stars

Genre: Poetry / Dark Fantasy
Publication Date: April 26th, 2014
Publisher: Independent

Life is like a box of chocolates. Sometimes you’re lucky and you get a deluxe truffle, and sometimes it’s one of these tooth-dissolving raspberry cremes. Other times still you pull out a human finger and have to sue.
…Or… (whispers) eat the finger anyway. If you’re struck with whimsy. It’s not like anyone will notice, it’s not attached anymore.

Anyway! Horror poetry is a rare but rich and untapped genre that I love to create and to read, but this isn’t only horror. Like a Box of Chocolates is a Whitman’s sampler of genre poetry ranging from splatterpunk to fantasy to humor. There are strong poems and there are sherbet cremes. In true dessert form, even the weaker poems aren’t really bad, just okay.

It’s a gutsy and fun short read. I think the concept of choosing a title for a poem by vote then writing what imagery it evoked was pretty creative. I like to employ a similar “label first, meat later” technique in my own work to push out unpredictable ideas during a block, and the method works well (if unreliable amounts of “well”). I enjoyed this, and I recommend if you’re looking for poetry with imagination.

Quotes

  • “Scars are constant enemies embedded within the skin / madness tattooed memories like shards of glass in a bin / corruption is to dishonesty as bacteria is to griminess / clearly there can hardly be a definition of why this is.”
  • “Faintly heard are yells, gentle screams and pleas / like a ringing in the ears that just won’t appease / there is sadness in their tone but yet also demonic / while reality is still the other side is catastrophic.”
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