Reviewed by Kate Hammerich
Poetry & Prose
Print Collection: 102 pages
Publisher: Punk Hostage Press (2014)
Available on Amazon for $12.55 print and $1.99 Kindle.
SCARS is raw and honest first book from writer Nadia Bruce-Rawlings. To open her book is to page through memories, both visceral and emotional. The prose and poetry work seamlessly together, forming a spiraling story that seems to have no end.
A quick and painful read, SCARS is like ripping the bandage off a very old wound. From the violent and spectacular opening pieces the reader gets dragged into a story that is filled with landscapes and characters that always fall short of healing. The ending seems to be a hope of “it will be different this time” – a fingers-crossed nod towards rebirth.
There were moments the pacing faltered and the plot wandered – some further edits would keep the storytelling clear, the plot on course, and the reader engaged. A few pieces shine out and the reader is transported to a world where “letting life run its course on a man whose only legacy will be pain” is a real option.
While this book is at times repetitive and seems to stumble over its own storytelling, Bruce-Rawlings tackles her stories with unfailing honestly. This litany of pain is interspersed with stories of “a man… who lets me rest whenever it hurts, and who doesn’t think I am possessed and has never tried to rape me.”
SCARS is a bit rough around the edges, but it will be interesting to see where author Nadia Bruce-Rawlings applies her talent from here.
Nadia Bruce Rawlings uses grains of her often, gritty life to infuse her stories with cathartic realism. Her stories “Fire” and “Scars” have both been finalists in Glimmer Train‘s writing contests and are included here in SCARS, her first anthology from Punk Hostage Press. Nadia Bruce-Rawlings grew up traveling the world and living in various countries before settling in Los Angeles. In LA she briefly worked at a vitamin factory and then began a long career in independent film distribution. A single mom for 11 years, she and her new husband have settled into the Nashville area, where she writes by the lake when she can escape their five kids and two dogs.