Journey into the Shadow and the Sunshine by Annabel Harz is a collection of poetry, artwork, and color that come together to describe the writer’s journey from abject desolation to hope. This is not an anthology to dip into and out of; it’s instead like the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” in that if you don’t see it through to the end, it’s the saddest, most bleak story ever told.
The first two-thirds of the book tells the story of a lonely woman, abused and slowly dying from crippling depression. This whole section is skillfully summed up in the poem “My World,” describing her willingness to give away her world “to anyone who wishes to take it” because she is “too tired and not strong enough to fix it.” This section of the book has a nearly overwhelming number of poems written from the depths of her depression. They speak of the darkness that can consume those living with depression. Like how depression does not have a set of rules, many of her poems lack metaphor or even meter. These pieces are not only poems; they are plaintive howls of despair from a pit of desperation and pain. Phrases, like “washed by the tides of fortune,” create moments of magic for the reader. For me, the perfect description of the girl in the first part comes from “Emotional Backlash,” in which she is a “glass girl, exposed and ready to shatter.”
The poems are beautifully illustrated by Harz as well. Some of the pictures are childlike, some powerful, and some are little more than doodles. But they are almost all effective in representing the poem they are paired with. “Life Force Within” gracefully depicts the writer’s entire journey from suicidal desolation into hope, where “Each footstep of your journey transforms you into a petal of the flower you will become.” The collection is completed with dignified composure in “I Am.”
Journey into the Shadow and the Sunshine is powerful, resonant, and ultimately uplifting. This poetry collection will stay with readers long after they finish reading the last poem. Lovers of poetry, those struggling with depression, women looking for someone that understands, this collection has something for all.
The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.
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