Reviews for Already Published Books

REVIEW: Where I Ache by Megan O’Keeffe


book cover ebookPublisher: Self-pub
Release Date: June 10, 2019
Received From: Review requested by the author

Where I Ache is broken up into six chapters ranging from themes such as depression, jealousy, death, and strength. These are delicate subjects to talk about and most people avoid them because of the uncomfortable vulnerability. I’ve always written and shared my poetry with the hope that readers would relate and feel less alone. I hope you feel a sense of community to all of those connected throughout this collection.

gender sexuality romantic pairings

GENDER: not specified but presumed cisgender
SEXUALITY: not specified but presumed heterosexual
ROMANTIC ORIENTATION: not specified by presumed heteroromantic
***NOTE: I did check the author’s social media to see if queer identity was mentioned and didn’t personally find any, but if you have other information (or are Megan herself, hi!), let me know and I will make adjustments.***

tropes tags warnings

TAGS: poetry, contemporary, ownvoices
WARNINGS: mental illness (depression, anxiety), addiction, self-harm, alcoholism, grief, death, war, violence, gun violence, suicide, drowning, negative body image, verbal abuse, child abuse, ableism, anti-fatness, eating disorder, domestic violence, anti-aro language, codependent relationship


Five Things I Enjoyed

  • Mental Illness Representation: The mental illness rep in this collection is so real and poignant. With every word written about depression and anxiety, I saw myself more. Both in the crushing despair and pain caused by both, but in the desire to help alleviate those same aspects in others. Dealing with mental illness is a daily struggle, and they feed off each other in uncontrollable, debilitating ways. Within these pages, O’Keeffe hits every one of these aspects and more.
  • The Struggle With Changing Yourself: The narrative in this collection struggles with the need to both change yourself to make yourself more palatable (or more “worthy”) to others while, at the same time, staying true to who you are. Unfortunately, this is something that, I think, a lot of us continually try to work through and seek to find some kind of balance. Because on one hand, we just want to be liked and loved and appreciated, and so we’re willing to make changes/adjustments. But on the other, we want to be liked and loved and appreciated for who we already are, and for who we naturally develop into. O’Keeffe’s writing delves into both sides, but especially into how changing yourself doesn’t always (or, really, ever) work in a positive way, and in fact, ends up hurting you more than anyone else. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but one that was interesting to read about in a poetical narrative.
  • Emotional Impact: As I mentioned in the above sections, O’Keeffe does a fabulous job of hitting all metaphorical bruises and cracks, resulting in breathtaking emotional resonance, no matter the topic at hand. Readers who have experienced many of the same things as O’Keeffe will find themselves in these poems. Whether that will be a good or bad thing for said person, I’m not sure as everyone is different, but either way, it’s difficult to leave this collection without feeling like you’ve been simultaneously seen and exposed in some way.
  • Book Structure: I really liked the fact that O’Keeffe broke the poems up into 6 different sections, and while they were separate entities, they were very clearly connected as well and flowed nicely into each other. Also, there was a nice mixture of formats with the individual poems, which made for an interesting and almost interactive reading experience. And, the illustrations were an unexpected but wonderful addition!

One Thing I Disliked

  • War Cry: This poem in particular gave me pause and actually threw me out of the narrative that O’Keeffe had built up to that point. “War Cry” references Malala Yousafzai, the Taliban, and Malala’s experiences with terrorism, and O’Keeffe uses them as comparisons to herself and personal growth within the poem. As the author is a white person, and a white American, there’s a disconnect, and while O’Keeffe has undoubtedly experienced some terrible things, I don’t think the two situations are comparable enough for the connection created in this poem to be comfortable or appropriate.



rating4 STARSabout the author

18022730Megan’s sophomore collection Where I Ache out June 10th!! Megan OKeeffe is an up and coming poet with her debut collection Cracked Open. She has been writing poetry for over a decade before publishing her work on her blog Debatably Dateable. A romantic at heart, Megan can’t help but draw inspiration from the love and relationships around her. Always developing her art though, Megan touches on mental illnesses, self love, and life’s journey. When she isn’t writing, Megan can be found spending time with her dog, two sisters, and boyfriend.

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review by nicky tyler

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