Editor: Kristi King-Morgan
My Rating: 4 TURTLES: A great read, I definitely recommend.
This collection of poetry, memoirs and stories of short fiction presents to the reader such themes as depression, suicide, hopelessness, grief, loss, love, mental illness, and abuse both emotional and physical experienced by the writers or someone close to them. This collection serves to demonstrate that hiding behind shame or fear rather than sharing emotional pain as the authors in these works do is tantamount to “putting on a mask” or “wearing a person suit.” It is pretending. It is a state of existing but not truly living life to the fullest. The 11 authors featured in this collection have taken off their “person suit,” exposed their true selves to the world so that others may find their own voice and the courage to speak about mental illness and abuse of any kind.
Person Suit is a very powerful anthology of short stories and poems about people's experiences with love, loss, mental illness, and trauma. Some of the stories were very gritty and hard to read because of how emotional and difficult the subject matter was, but I really appreciated the authors telling these stories whether it be their own or a fictional character's. It takes a lot of courage to write about some of these topics. These are topics that are often either ignored or used just for dramatic effect in stories, so to read such sincere like these was really great.
While I enjoyed the majority of the stories and poems, there was one that felt a bit out of place in the anthology to me. I won't spoil anything, but it was science fiction where the rest of the stories were contemporary fiction. It did deal with loss and rejection and coping with it, so technically it fit the theme, but it stuck out to me. This might also be because I didn't enjoy its format as much as the others. It is written to be meant to be confusing for the reader, but it jumped around so much I had hard time getting my bearings in the sci-fi story world. That might be other people's cup of tea, it just isn't mine.
I would definitely recommend Person Suit. It has many powerful stories and I think it is really important that people read and get a glimpse into these lives and situations. Whether to build empathy or understanding for the life experiences of people who may be very different from us. That's part of what I love about literature in the first place, and Person Suit definitely accomplishes this.
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