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Young Adult Nonfiction 810
when the world didn't end
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Caroline Kaufman, otherwise known as @poeticpoison, has published her latest poems in WHEN THE WORLD DIDN’T END. The collection, which is autobiographical, addresses surviving, living, mental illness, sexual assault, and self-harm. In other words, this book doesn’t shy away from heavy topics. In fact, the perspective that Kaufman has about these events is so mature and wise that it’s hard to believe she is a mere twenty years old.

This book is split into three sections, “what was,” “what could have been,” and “what became.” Unlike similar poetry books that have been published recently, Kaufman’s overall tone is hopeful. She repeats over and over again how she wants to live now that she’s faced her trauma- and for that reason alone, this book could genuinely save others. She is giving readers hard, tangible proof that it does get better.

My favorite poem in this collection is the one about the femur bone being the strongest bone in the human body. According to Kaufman, it’s supposed to be stronger than concrete. However, she broke her femur bone when she was two years old, which she used to take as proof of her weakness. Now, she sees only her resilience and her ability to recover. I love the meaning in this poem and in others like it. Because her poetry is so brutally honest, it makes us hold a mirror up to our own lives and asks us to examine ourselves in the brave way Kaufman already has.

Overall, fans of Instagram poetry and micropoetry will enjoy Kaufman’s work. Her style is similar to that of Rupi Kaur, R.M. Drake, Atticus and other contemporary poets. If you’re more a fan of the traditional, structured, or even rhyming poetry, this may not be the book for you. That aside, Kaufman addresses the darkest moments of her life with the most beautiful words, and for the artistic experience alone, this book is worth reading.
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