Body and Soul is heavy. Stories of abuse, poverty and failed parenting are always difficult to read and more so Ryan Guth’s book attempts to tackle the issue in poetry. He does it well. Cassandra’s story is painful and poignant. He creates her setting, a delinquent father and abusive grandfather and a mother in pursuit of love. Guth follows Cassandra as she falls apart and then as she tries to repair her life. Cassandra’s identity disorder adds stimulating dimensions to her experience and to Guth narrative.
Guth’s poetry is glorious: spare and powerful. However, the amalgamation of narrative forms at times takes away from the story and causes some confusion for the reader.
Overall, I highly recommend Body and Soul – with a caveat – it is not light reading. It will work well for fans of The Basketball Diaries. It’s the type of book best read in silence with few distractions. It will leave you thoughtful and will stay with you for a while.
Author: Ryan Guth
Available: Body and Soul