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Sometimes I think summer has its own / pattern after all, some weirdly repeated // series of actions, happenings, heartbeats, / and mental breakdowns.
These are the first lines of "Road Work," the poem that opens this collection and sets the tone for the rest of the book. The poems are personal, emotional, and sometimes confessional, but Manthe always strives to engage readers' minds as well as their hearts. Many of the poems reflect the author's lifelong struggle with depression, and others who have experienced the isolation that often comes with mental illness might find a little comfort and a sense of familiarity in these pages.
There are lighter moments, too: follow the nervous driver of "Nighttime on 95," enjoy a snack of "Apples and Hot Chocolate," and watch the speaker become first enamored, then annoyed, with a guy named Phil in "A Slice of Otto B." From adolescence, and the joys and pains of young love, to marriage, motherhood, and the deaths of her parents, Manthe's poems explore what it feels like to be constantly buffeted by the forces and stresses of everyday life, when she'd rather be lost in a book.
In addition to approximately 50 poems, the book contains a short essay entitled "Losing Everything but Our Appetites," which Manthe wrote in memory of her father.