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Rilù
Writer, book blogger, tea drinker, late night snacker.
Professional cryer who spends way too much time online, eating books for breakfast.

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Sicily, Italy

Sunday Review: Say My Name by Lune - An Open Window Into Love, Mental Health & Toxic Relationships

 


So, we returned / from whence we came. / Ans before we slept / it was just / me and you / and... / No. / Just me and you. / What more could we ever need?

I was pleasantly surprised by this little book, as it is poetry but it might as well be a fully developed novel, so rich in plot and characters.

We follow the lives of a couple, husband and wife as they descend into a complicated relationship, each with problems of their own, and decide that, to save their marriage, they have to explore more outside of themselves and try a polyamorous relationship. 

The topic of polyamorous love is so rarely explored in literature that it feels like it demands your entire attention to learn more, to understand what these characters want from their relationship and why they decide to expand their bubble instead of fixing whatever is going on between them.

It's interesting how from one topic, the poems don't just stay on the surface but dive deep into various issues that inflict most people like mental health and depression and abuse, making the whole reading experience relatable to any of us.

Not only it's relatable in the internal agonies each of us fights against in our private lives, but also in the selfless nature of our protagonist, who is willing to accept another person into her relationship, in order to make her husband happy. She's willing to put her needs aside, crushing them and hiding them underneath the figurative carpet so that she doesn't have to see them, feel them and only think about what her husband's needs are.

And this is where it gets interesting: we see her as she suppresses her feelings in order to fix her relationship with her husband but in doing so, she's also understanding herself and how far she would go for him. We see her ripping her heart apart in order to make it big enough to accept the lover into her marriage and it's so heartbreaking to watch.  

But she's so invested, to the verge of being trapped in a relationship he clearly doesn't want and a new reality à trois that is so hard to accept for her. Like a bubble about to pop.

This story told in narrative poetry, is a portrait of love in its many aspects; it's also a clear portrait of any relationships, maybe not as complicated and toxic but surely with its ups and downs.

It's the journey of a woman who, focused on her love for another person, somehow gets lost in that love to forget herself completely. We see her trapped in her husband's needs only to come out stronger, conscious of her worth.

This aspect is very important in the story which clearly splits the book into three parts, almost like the stages of her life.

Part 1: the year of the Wave. This is where the lover is introduced, this is where we see her re-shaping herself, her relationship to fit the other person. It's clear how the lover is the main component here, how their love is dictated by how they behave around him, how everything is changing.

Part 2: the year of the Bear. This is where the attention bounces back to the husband. We see him struggling with his mental health and probably depression as well as toxic behaviours towards his wife. This is almost like a turning point for her and the lover, as they start to understand the husband's behaviour and even though she tries to make excuses for him, she's also aware of how controlling and patronizing he can be. Was he like this before the lover came around?

Part 3: the year of the Bird. And finally, we see her at the end, coming to terms with how much she gave to the other person and how little she got in return. We see her as she walks in the crumbs of her failed relationship, asking him to give her back her old self, the self she lost in the love for him. This is when she finally breaks free.

I particularly loved how to author used analogies to describe the state of her relationship and the weight of her feelings: like the image of a car in an empty road which can be so literal but can also be interpreted as her loneliness inside the relationship.

My eyes were on you. / Both of you. / Surely, the road was empty. /Why would a road, in a busy city, on a Friday / night / have a car in it? / My logic was drunker than I was.

These images are important to the story, as the author gives us almost another way to translate her feelings. We find the lover pulling her away from the traffic, almost like pulling her away from the husband who was motionless, unsure of his feelings (was he relieved? Was he not?) that become clearer towards the end of the story.

You look up at the rest of the world. / Your world. / That's what you used to call me. / Your world. / I'm fingering a mug with both hands. / I'm rubbing its ceramic edges, where I / can feel a crack / growing. 

It's almost like she's feeling her heart cracking the more she realizes her husband is only a shadow in their relationship, a shell of himself or what he used to be, and her heart, so full of love, is now slowly breaking.

These daily snippets of life give us a tool of interpretation, an invitation to look closely, to pay attention to every small detail that could lead us - and her - to the breaking point.

Which finally materializes in the end, when we see her trying to re-build herself anew, picking up the pieces from underneath the carpet and sticking them back together, one by one. We see her acknowledging how toxic her husband's presence was for her and how blind she's been and stupid, for giving him all the love that only emptied her instead. She wants her pieces back so that she can build a life without him in it, full of herself.

Although filled to the brim with heavy themes running throughout the whole book, the poems never feel heavy to the eyes and the choice of the author to make it narrative poetry instead of traditional poetry, saved us the need to interpret every word and run away from the heavier topics.

Her choice made the whole experience enjoyable and more relatable.

I highly recommend checking this book out, especially if you're into a quick read on the beach or you're trying to dip your toes into poetry.


*This is a sponsored review but all opinions are my own.




SAY MY NAME 

We were barely adults and only two years into our marriage when we took him as a lover. That sun-bleached surfer that I barely tolerated and you adored. How long did we spend together? A year? Not even. Our world together was only briefly permitted. Yet the nights and days the three of us shared seem a thousand times clearer upon reflection than any other memory from that time. Now I find myself asking, why? What may seem like a question easily answered, never is. There was nothing simple about our relationship with our lover, but he was not our demise, nor the highlight of our marriage. He was just a fragment of a greater broken mirror. So, why then, do I see him reflected in so many shards of us? 

Written in narrative poetry, Say My Name is a breathtaking true story of polyamorous love, marriage, and abuse.

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