Book Review: This Present Garden of Pain


The author takes you on a walk through the garden of an abuse survivor. This journey is illustrated by using poems, prose, flash fiction and short stories to offer a glimpse into the thorny world in which a survivor often lives.











This is not a book to sit down and read in one sitting.  The poetry reveals a soul torn and broken from horrors that no child, young adult, or being should ever be forced to endure.  The heading on the print version back cover is “When Eden is lost,” which is exactly what the covers of this book contain.

The prose seems to hint at the beginnings of healing, yet as the book moves towards the concluding selection, those hints are extinguished in a howl of loss and pain.  None of the characters depicted give up, yet each of them sketch a cry to the void with almost the same meaning.  For those who have never endured such tragedies in their lives, the selected pieces may seem unreal, fantasy, horror, or a nightmare given body in the text on the page.  I believe that for those who have, however, experienced similar situations, this title may provide a ray of connection.

It has taken me a very long time to work through all the pieces presented, which makes me uncertain just how unsettling the entire book is.  Knowing it was written through personal experience, as the book description says, makes this something I think anyone who knows someone from a background of abuse or neglect should read.  Not to be a voyeur, but for the sliver of understanding it gives to those who have not experienced the same.  I do not think that it would be possible to have a complete understanding without having experienced similar circumstances.

For the nuts and bolts that I typically comment on, the pieces are varied enough that without evaluating each one individually, only the most general descriptions would suffice, and those would not do enough justice to the dark, jagged edges that are intentionally left exposed.  There are a few minor grammatical errors, however by the time I came across them, they added to the overall atmosphere of the total work, rather than detracted from it.  (Those with a need for perfect grammar may find it otherwise.)

Would I recommend this to anyone?  Definitely yes.

Will I return to re-read the work?  That will depend on who enters my life.  Some of the pieces have been engraved into my memory forever.  Others may not be equally well remembered.  The overall emotions and feeling of abandonment, however will never be forgotten.  Nor do I believe they should be.

Because of the nature of my response, and the knowledge that I will probably not voluntarily return to these words, I can only give the work a 3 of 5 stars.  However, I will restate – I feel this is a book that everyone will benefit from reading, though it may not be a pleasant trip.  The scenes, and vignettes depicted by Ms. Simon are not pleasant.  Not for the survivors, nor for those who step in to try and help the survivors put themselves back together.


If you appreciated the review, and wish for me to read and review your own work, please stop by my Offered Services page and fill out the simple submission form.  I will get back to you soonest to discuss details.

If you are willing to accept my advice, and read through the work, you can find it on Amazon Here to pick up your copy.


Comments and questions welcome.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s