First, hands down I would have to say that this is the most attractive collection that I have seen for review so far. The writing on the cover is hand-done, the paper is thick and good to touch, and the double lining makes the collection strangely resilient (having carried it in and out to work for about two weeks now, I should know).
Second, on the first read through, the writing is innocuous, beaming up at the reader in perceived innocence. The sentences are short and snappy, often simplistic in their construction, child-like. It’s the images that hit hard out of this undemanding groundwork. They punctuate the text like stark trees in snow:
Each morning, he went outside and carefully raised the umbrellas in her garden. They bloomed like flowers, big dark gray flowers, their hooked handles like roots dug in the soil.
On the second read through, I began to snatch at deeper meanings and plays on rhythm and connotations. The third reading confirmed that the collection is eminently quotable: “Her absence had grown fond of him”, “We ran outside in our pajamas and lay down in the glowing field, more of them falling, covering us”, “By sundown his needs were poisonous flowers the troop couldn’t identify without a survival manual”.
I liked this collection because of how easily it was assimilated into my own life experience. There are some things, however. Housekeeping notes. Well. Basically only one comment: the word ‘big’ is way overused. ‘Smiling big’, ‘giggled big’, ‘hugged him big.” It’s the only grating note in the piece.
I read somewhere about how reflections catch the world in microcosm. Beeny’s worlds are small and carefully formed, easy to ride along in your mind as you continue your way through life, dipping back into the stories again and again whenever the need should arise. A surprising, precious collection.