ARC Review: Depression & Other Magic Tricks, by Sabrina Benaim

Depression and Other Magic Tricks Sabrina BenaimRating: ★★★★☆

Genres: Non-fiction, Poetry, Mental Health


I have received this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I had read that this book was a collection of poems about depression, love and heartbreak, and normally I don’t love poetry much, so I hesitated for a long time before getting it. Still, I’d forgotten it was a poem collection when I got this book in Netgalley, and the first poem threw me off: I’m not a fan of modern-looking poems which read like a stream of thoughts, stressful and not entirely constructed to make sense to a reader outside of the author’s head. So I glared a bit at the book and mentally scowled at myself for having gotten it. Then I kept turning pages.

And turning pages, and turning pages. The poems changed and, while the first is still my least favorite one, I started to enjoy them. Sabrina speaks in soft, quiet verses, stirring your emotions ever so slowly. My heart broke at her poem “explaining depression to my mother“.

my depression is a shape shifter;
one day it is as small as a firefly in the palm of a bear,
the next, it’s the bear.
those days i play dead until the bear leaves me alone.

The truth in these verses hit me like a soft-spoken acknowledgement. From then on, this book and I understood each other a thousand times better, and I came to love this poem best, followed by untitled (i) and untitled (ii). I don’t love the Beyoncé parts, but that’s okay. The poems in the middle of the book are my favorites, and I feel the urge to buy this to read more quietly and patiently.

I wanted to make these poems last, and I wanted to devour them. So I took several breaks to ponder and listen to instrumental music, and even then the book didn’t take more than half an afternoon to read.

This book has a sadness to it, but it’s not inherently sad itself. It’s just very emotional.

Trigger warnings: depression, anxiety.

One thought on “ARC Review: Depression & Other Magic Tricks, by Sabrina Benaim

  1. Totally agree with explaining depression to my mother poem, it’s what got me into requesting the book😍
    Great review, Naty, also we have similar tastes, your favourites are mine haha🤗.
    Did you read any other poetry book? Do you recommend any?


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