Alice Lawrence reviews Sunshine Girl by Marissa Dahlson

Sunshine Girl by Marissa Dahlson cover

Marissa Dahlson has opened her heart to the reader with gentleness and honesty to create a lovely collection of poems that leave you feeling you’ve gotten to know this stranger so well you’d recognise her if you passed her in the street. While you may not know her face,  you know her scars, fears, hopes, and the immense capacity for generosity, forgiveness, and patience she seems to poses.

This anthology of poems is a coming of age collection, touching on early childhood, the forging of a unique identity as a teenager, falling in love, living in a world where you have to make  compromises,-and realising somethings are impossible no matter how much we wish otherwise.

In particular I was moved by the theme of communication that kept coming up in the book. She places her tittles at the end of her poems, like whispered confessions, tagging on a truth that may have been to hard to say explicitly in the poem itself. She strikes me as a woman who struggles to speak of her inner life honestly, but in her writing she has found a way to show us a little of who she is behind, and within, her smiles.

Going in to this collection you should know it contains themes of rape, suicide, Alzheimer’s, bereavement, and infertility. It is for the watchers- for people who have loved ones go through horrific events like these and felt powerless. Marissa Dahlson leaves you feeling like you’re not alone  and that it’s ok to want a life of your own.

I really recommend this collection. It made smile, and tear up, and feel the edge of some dark experiences that I will thankfully never go through. After I read it I was left wishing this stranger I will never meet will have a good, rewarding life. Marissa Dahlson, I hope you do call your mom, and I hope you and B get to be the parents you want to be. And thank you for sharing this collection with the world.

I rate Sunshine Girl by Marrissa Dahlson 4 stars, and I think it’s perfect if you try to be the sunshine in the lives of others but struggle to talk about your feelings honestly.