Reviews

Even the Saints Audition, by Raych Jackson

andrealianne's review

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5.0

should be required reading for all former church kids. I am blown away. Raych Jackson weaves together Christianity, Black womanhood, depression, grief, and familial relationships to create a beautiful collection. The story of Job is dissected. The concept of sin is meditated on. Traditional hymns are turned into erasures. The pain and confusion of coming of age in a suppressed environment where a girl's purity is more valued than her inquisitiveness and sadness rings so clear and bittersweet. I can't wait to read what Raych Jackson writes next.

"I sin & misery wanders
into my home. I get saved
& it never leaves."
(from "After church she gets high again")

"Is it even my body if I am made in his image?"
(from "Jonah was trapped before he met the fish")

bananafreckles's review

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3.0

This collection is a heartfelt exploration of what it's like to be a person prone to questioning the theology they're taught since childhood. I was especially interested on the "On Job" poems which push back against the lessons we're "supposed" to learn from the story. On the other hand, I was a little disappointed in the hymn erasure poems; they didn't seem to be saying anything all that different from the originals, and I thought they could have pushed it much further. I appreciate the intersectionality of many of these poems, giving glimpses into experiences that I both can and can't relate to.

pagesift's review

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reflective medium-paced

4.0

bdwhite_'s review

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emotional reflective medium-paced

3.0

jachin_heckman's review

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5.0

"The worst type of sinner is the sinner who knows better."

This is one is for the ten year old, church kid, who could never stay saved. Every week with eyes squeezed shut and fists clenched together they would ask God into their life. They would beg him to stop their evil sinning and to silence their doubts, but they couldn't seem to forget Job. "How could an all loving God let someone suffer just to brag? How could he send people he supposedly loves to hell? That doesn't seem like eternal love to me. Aunt Marry doesn't believe, but she is SO kind. Surly God wants her in heaven. I want her there... I don't think I believe." And once they got there, they did the only thing they could: Prayed.

"If God listened to sinners I would've prayed my mind right a long time ago."

heathershectichideaway's review

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3.0

Honestly when I started this book I wasn’t sure how much I was going to enjoy it. It’s one of very few that I’ve read in this genre and I realized I’m not as religious as I was before. The writing was beautiful though and I kept reading even though I felt some of it was provocative. I would recommend it to a mature audience that’s very religious.

anthroxagorus's review

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5.0

I think there's a good meditation here on The Church and morality, some of it too specific for me to relate to, and mostly because I'm, well, white. Also in a bit of a mood, will have to reread in a better state of mind.

helenmckinzi's review

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5.0

I felt myself in this collection of poetry. Truly a beautiful masterpiece.

1siobhan's review

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4.0

*I received an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks for the free book.*

"Even the Saints Audition" is a collection of poetry navigating the abyss between religious belief and sexual self-discovery and independence. There are also other poems about religion & family, going to Church when feeling like a sinner because of one's mind and thoughts.

I quite liked the collection. The poems were brutally honest, creating an intimacy between focalizer and reader.

However, I felt that the poems were connected but I also found that many poems weren't going anywhere - at least for me. As a white agnostic I lack knowledge & experience in that very specific setting, yet I enjoyed them. I learned a lot.

4 Stars
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