I was sent a copy of this e-book by Raine Publishing in exchange for an honest review.
Chameleon Skin by Breanne Weber is a collection of poetry that explores the monochrome world of depression and how colour offers hope and beauty in this world. It is a wonderful poetry collection that focuses on self-discovery, growth, and healing.
I have a little bit of mixed emotions about this one. I did enjoy it and gave it 3.5/5 stars. However, I felt like the collection was lacking in areas.
In the first half of the book, I seemed to love every other poem. The imagery was beautiful and the connection with nature and colour with self-discovery and growth was great. However, every other poem also fell flat for me. One example is of one poem using beautiful imagery about taking seeds ‘from the garden behind my eyes’ and planting the into nail beds, so everything they touch turns beautiful. Then the focus switches to how when they would touch themselves, the hope that they would then become beautiful. It was a stunning poem. It is then followed by a poem that uses imagery such as ‘crumping up a ball of aluminium foil… I threw it away’. For me, this discredited the beautiful imagery use.
That being said, I truly adored the idea of the narrator being lost and confused, deep into a depression and trying to find a way out. There was another really strong poem that uses imagery to describe the body as a dig zone and picking at it to reveal who you are. The imagery made me uncomfortable to think of my body being turned into soil and having brush the dirt away to get to my bones or picking between my bones in search for something. It really made me squirm, but I enjoyed the perspective.
Depression is a constant theme throughout and with the lack of colour, also comes short bursts of colour. I really enjoyed this aspect. For me personally, and my experiences with depression, it was a really accurate depiction of how every now and then you will have a good day. There will be colour, and beauty can be enjoyed in simple things, and motivation will be found to carry out simple tasks like cleaning. In one of the poems it reads
‘when i started humming while sweeping
the floor. when i started sweeping the floor
– that’s when i knew i was better.’
I really liked this one, though simple, it really shows the impact that depression can have on people. From not being able to carry out daily tasks and sometimes not even realising that you weren’t able to carry out these tasks until you start doing them again. I would have liked this to be expanded more, however, but nevertheless I did still enjoy it.
Moving on to the second half of the book. I think this half was a lot stronger than the first half. We got some longer poems, which I really enjoyed. I felt like the were developed a little more and really focused on change. One poem in particular (the one on page 46) was my favourite of the collection. It was disgusting, whilst simultaneously beautifully written. There is this idea of freeing yourself from within. There’s descriptions of cutting string with broken mirror shards so that the ribs could move more freely. I also like how there were still some string left, which I really liked that it was mentioned because it gave me the feeling that you can’t heal from everything fully. There will always be a little bit lingering; it is a perfectly accurate depiction of depression yet again, for me personally. The poem evolves further and it seems to me, becomes the pivotal moment in the collection where the healing process really becomes a foreseeable goal.
Overall, I did really enjoy this collection. Though there were some weaknesses, I do think there were a lot more strengths within this collection. I truly enjoyed the descriptions of experiencing and healing with depression. The use of colours popping in and out of focus and ultimately ending with being able to appreciate the monochrome and the colourfulness was a delightful outcome.