Thursday, March 26, 2020

"A Strangely Wrapped Gift" - Emily Juniper

Emily Juniper, not to be confused with the British actress of the same name, is the author of three poetry collections including this one being released by Central Avenue Publishing. 

A New York-based advocate for mental health in children and teens along with animal rights, Juniper is hard at work on her first YA novel and can be followed via Instagram. "A Strangely Wrapped Gift" was originally a self-published collection and as a self-publishing author myself it's always exciting to see an author be picked up by a publisher in the hopes of reaching an even wider audience. 

"A Strangely Wrapped Gift" explores journeys both intimate and universal including mental illness, most specifically OCD, to mental health recovery. The collection also explores experiences with heartbreak and heart growth, hopelessness transitioning into empowerment, and the universe around us from the ocean to the stars. Juniper lyrically and rhythmically tackles difficult subjects with both raw honesty and an occasional sense of whimsy. 

For those who connect with the material, and that will likely be quite a few, Juniper creates safety in the human experience and within the universe. You'll likely feel like you know her by the time you're finished and you'll likely also feel like you know yourself quite a bit better. The style in which Juniper writes resembles the more lyrical styles of r.h. sin and Rupi Kaur among others. If you require a strict structure with your poetry, then you may be challenged to adjust to Juniper's looser, more fluid way of writing and willingness to, in essence, go with the flow. 

"A Strangely Wrapped Gift" is a breezy, relaxed read that I easily finished within one evening. However, it contains linguistic gems that you'll likely refer back to over time and find yourself pondering upon for quite some time after finishing the book. 

"A Strangely Wrapped Gift" fits well within the literary genres of LGBTQIA and poetry and nicely balances Juniper's more serious topics with reflections on love, personal growth, and the wonder of the world around us. While "A Strangely Wrapped Gift" wasn't quite what I expected, it's a rewarding and engaging collection of poetry from an insightful, gifted writer who has taken her strangely wrapped gift and re-wrapped it for poetry lovers everywhere. You will find journeys from mental illness to recovery, from heartbreak to heart growth, from hopelessness to empowerment, and from the ocean to the stars. In these pages, Juniper takes heavy, emotional raw material and weaves it into stunning, relatable poetry you’ll long to share with friends and loved ones. This collection is a reminder that broken pieces make the most beautiful mosaics, and that all of us possess the power to bloom even after a harsh winter.

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