Book review: “Defining the Edge Between Truth and Madness” by Wade Alexander

[Reviewed by George Teseleanu]

At the beginning of the year I received through the mail an interesting book, “Defining the Edge Between Truth and Madness,” by Wade Alexander. Although people say not to judge a book by its cover, this time we should make an exception. The design of the covers gives us a clue of what we will find inside them. The idea of choosing an eye symbol for this book’s front cover was inspired, since the poems offer an overview of the author’s life experiences.

The book starts with an emotional foreword written by the author’s wife. She tells us about her relation with the author and the stages of its manifestations. The accent is put especially on the stage of their relation’s destruction and how they reacted to this event. Although this is not a fairytale, it has a happy ending in which they discovered that their love never left, it was just “covered up in a cobweb of lies” and once they put it away they found their love again. After that we find a small introduction about the author’s childhood with two alcoholic parents and how the hell from his home influenced his adulthood. Some people might ask what these informations have to do with the book. I must tell them that they offer a background that helps the reader to better understand some of the poems.

After reading a few poems we find a pleasant surprise, through the poems we find strained small pieces of wisdom from the author’s life. Here is an example of such a piece:

“Time brings what is missing

In our souls,

And our souls bring what is missing

In our time.”

One of the major themes that we find in Wade Alexander’s poems is human nature. The author critics modern society, that it puts too much emphasis on personal gain and that this surrounds the human soul in lies, cruelty and greed. This surrounding prevents us from seeing the true meaningful things:

“Victory is in the smile of a child,

The safety felt by others,

The feeling of being needed.”

In these poems the author also talks about the ephemeral nature of human thoughts and actions:

“Man judges us by our victories.

The earth sees us as visitors.”

and the fact that we struggle all our life, but once death brings us peace, we start to fade from time.

In a few poems the author talks about his childhood and how his innocence and hopes were destroyed by the violence provoked by his parents:

“The love was beaten out,

The peace shattered by screams,

Faith replaced with lies,

Calm replaced with fear”

Living in a terrible fright he dreamt of a place where fear is replaced by love and tears by laughter of joy. In all this chaos the child found comfort in his grandfather, who offered him love and told him how great he will be. Through his child eyes, his parents looked like vengeful gods, and the author advises us to be careful with our actions because someday we will become gods for a child and our actions will mold him.

Another major theme through the poems is the relation of the author with his wife. He tells us how finding love in her, made him forget all his past pains. They both recognize, she in the introduction, he in the poems, that once problems appeared in their relationship, unresolved past problems started to emerge making things worst and so the past started to prey on the fragile present. The book is full of poems talking about the pain produced by these unfortunate events and how these poems were a part of the healing process. But to really connect with the author’s feelings you should read the poems by yourself. With these words said I really recommend this book of poems and I think that it will open your eyes and help you to better understand the human nature.

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You can contact the reviewer, George Teseleanu, at blana_de_maimutza@yahoo.com.

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