The Cynic in Extremis by Jacob M. Appel

41744260The Cynic in Extremis by Jacob M. Appel is a collection of poems. This review will be spoiler-free.

Poetry. Finalist for the 2017 Able Muse Book Award. Eclectic characters in everyday scenarios populate Jacob M. Appel’s The Cynic in Extremis. We attend a sister’s second wedding with a “hand-me-down groom”; trick-or-treat with a young son; encounter a former teacher long retired, still critical; relive difficult ancestral memories of the Holocaust. Full of fun, wit and insight, these poems present–often unapologetically–uncomfortable truths gleaned from close examination of social norms and conventions mostly taken for granted. (Synopsis from Goodreads)

I don’t read much poetry, but it is a genre that I am trying to read more of. When I got this book, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I do know I wasn’t expecting this.

This collection dug into the truth of our world, by focusing on the true human nature and the mistakes our communities have made in the past. It is insightful and thought-provoking while bringing laughter, heartache, and anger.

There were several poems in this collection that went over my head and that I just did not understand or enjoy. But there were also several that were like a punch to the gut. I am sure that others who read this collection will react to and connect with a different set than I did.

My favorites (in no particular order) were:

  1. Concurrences
  2. Coop
  3. Infidelity
  4. Trick or TReat
  5. Jury Duty
  6. Caveat
  7. Distinctions
  8. Our Dog Turns Eighteen
  9. Shrinking with Doubt

I gave this collection 3 out of 5 stars because while I really loved and was impacted by several of these poems, I was not impressed by more. However, I suggest everyone who likes poetry to give it a try!



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