Wednesday 11 December 2019

Book Review: Escapism - Words and Photos by Candice Lee

Last Updated: 11 October 2021

Escapism Words and Photos by Candice Lee book cover

AD* | This is a story about love and loss. This full-colour book is a collection of poems and landscape photographs - all written, shot, and arranged by the author.

Composed in the style of a memoir, she shares her experiences through words and photos. This window into her emotions reveals the dark side of love as it narrates the journey through relationships, friendships, it's-complicated-ships, and self-identity. But really, it's a story about finding beauty in pain through growth.

I really wanted to love this book but I just... didn't.

I wanted to read Escapism since I first came across it as I was fascinated by the concept and intrigued to see the relationship between the poems and the photography. In my mind, I was envisioning this book almost as a work of art, effortlessly combining multiple different media in order to tell a very personal, emotive story.

And while my initial impressions were correct, to a degree at least, I just didn't interact with the book in the way that I hoped I would. I felt disconnected and a little lost; many of the poems were vague and open to interpretation, meaning that a lot of the narrative got broken and distorted on the journey through the book.

As a result, I struggled to understand the aim of the poetry, and therefore the collection as a whole. Much of the poetry felt samey and, in all honesty, a little childish. It's also clear to see that the process of creating this book must have been very cathartic for the author, yet it also felt very personal - to the extent that I felt a little awkward reading it!

'Pressed Flower' was the poem I felt most connected to, I think largely due to its clarity and emotive nature. The accompanying picture of the pressed flower referenced in the poem also helped to drive the point home, providing a reminder that this poem - and this book - are about real people and real feelings. It's more than a little sad.

My favourite aspect of Escapism was the photography. Candice Lee is clearly a skilled landscape photographer, and her style of photography lends itself very well to the bleak, melancholic nature of her poetry. I felt the two art forms went hand in hand brilliantly, yet I also enjoyed looking at the photos on their own merits, too.

I finished Escapism left in a rather reflective and melancholic mood, brought on by the sadness seeping from between the pages of the book. I know how it feels when your world is suddenly brought crashing down around you, and I sincerely hope that the author has managed to go onto happier times since the book was published.

Rating: 2 stars

Escapism: Words and Photos is available to buy now.

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* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Will you be reading the book? Let me know in the comments below!

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