Book Reviews

Review: Pierre Alex Jeanty’s “To The Women I Once Loved”

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Greetings and salutations, folks. I trust you’re all staying safe and taking the necessary precautions during these crazy times. I also hope that you are doing as “well” as can be, which, I realize, is always easier said than done; but we’ll all make it through to the end, like we’re each channeling our inner Rick Grimes during an undead-infested dystopian apocalypse.

I’ve found that the best way to escape the clutches of any given situation that endeavors to rip you apart, and feast on your freshly exposed innards, is to lose yourself within a good book. One of the most recent writers to swoop on in and rescue me from my own thoughts was Pierre Alex Jeanty; although, to be honest, his book, To The Women I Once Loved, went a long way towards unapologetically quarantining my mind in a prison with the ghosts of my past, like an Ebenezer Scrooge being visited by the “three spirits”. Thing is, the “ghosts” have only ever been just a single apparition, and she’s never faded away. Pierre merely brought my thoughts into a clear, focused perspective.

To The Women I Once Loved is a 139-page love letter to all the women who played a part, both grand and small, in Pierre’s growth and evolution as a human. Each poem is its own “thank you” to the unique beings that unknowingly contributed – however minute those contributions might have been – to the person Pierre is today. The words that he writes to these women are eloquently sincere, almost like he’s holding their hands while he’s confessing how grateful he is for their time together. Never once did I feel like the contents were empty and self-serving – quite the contrary, in fact. His words are rife with the unseen emotions of these past relationships whose stories are being told.  I was touched (sometimes to the point of tears) by several of these quiet confessions because of the fact that, like most men, I could relate. In my own life, I’ve experienced both heartbreak and love. I was, at times, the “crushed”; while during others I was the “crusher”. I’ve given the whole of me, with the expectation that a whole in equal parts would be given back, only to discover that I was holding on to false hope. And, of course, like other souls on this plane of existence, I was fortunate enough to be blessed with the gift of unconditional love. However, instead of embracing and nurturing it, I selfishly and greedily fed from it, like a parasite, all the while surveying the expanse of land in front of me, always searching for the “next best thing”.

It is my belief that every man is cursed with this “disease” of stupidity, and it is only through the love of someone special that we are “cured” of it. The irony of this is, by the time we’re cured, the person who saved us has typically moved on.

The “ghost” I spoke of earlier is, and will forever be, my savior. She is the “great love” so often portrayed in book and film, that most of us come to cynically reference the idea as an unattainable “pie in the sky” plot point; like winning the Mega Millions jackpot, or something. But I was lucky enough to be with such a person, and win the lottery, I surely had. It’s been almost a decade since she’s moved on from my life, and hopefully into the embrace of a more deserving lover; but I constantly think of her, and Pierre wrote a few words that fiddled with my heartstrings, and so accurately spelled out my feelings for her on the page….

If I ever find another girl like you,

I will knock on the doors of her heart

until my hands go numb and my knuckles

bleed. And with the blood, I will write

out “I love you” on the door, hoping she

sees that there’s nothing I wouldn’t do

to have a room in her heart.

If you’ve ever loved or been loved – or simply suffer from the human condition of being a hopeless romantic, To The Women I Once Loved is a selection that belongs on your list of desired reads. It pairs perfectly with a glass of vino, some aged cheese, and a box of tissues.

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