Swimming Lessons explores the euphoric beginnings of young love, battling anxiety and depression in the face of fame, and the inevitable heartbreak that stems from passion. Relatable yet deeply intimate, provocative yet comforting, bite-sized yet profound, Lili’s poems reflect her trademark honesty and unique perspective. Accompanied by striking and evocative illustrations, Swimming Lessons reveals the depths of female experience, and is the work of a storyteller who is coming into her own.
Title: Swimming Lessons: Poems
Author: Lili Reinhart
Published on September 29th 2020 by St. Martin’s Griffin
Format: Paperback, 240 pages
After discovering her own battles with anxiety and depression, Lili Reinhart’s become a strong voice and advocate for mental health awareness. After finding out she’d written poetry relating to her own and others’ experiences, I had to get my hands on it. From the beautiful illustrations to the way the poems were written, I (unfortunately) have rather mixed thoughts on Swimming Lessons.
Reinhart’s collection contains a lot of discussions regarding the hardships of fame, battling anxiety and depression, and the ups and downs of falling in love. The poems felt soft and light, making the experience less emotionally overwhelming as other works. I found the BULK of her poems related to the beauty of love and pain of heartache, more so than the other topics. There’s nothing wrong with this whatsoever, but for those looking to read poetry on mental health issues NOT related to love may not relate to this collection as much. This also made the collection feel rather repetitive at times.
There’s a lot of emotion in Reinhart’s works. You can FEEL the passion behind her words, her happiness and sorrow spilled into the pages. But I still didn’t feel myself as moved by her works as I am with other works of poetry. A number of the poems were a little flat and felt novice, needing more refinement to them. Someone on social media mentioned how Reinhart has the “…heart of a poet, but the words don’t quite convey the feelings behind them”. This is EXACTLY how it felt.
In the end, I’m glad I read Swimming Lessons. The diary entry like quality to her works was fun, and the illustrations throughout the collection are breathtaking.
I recommend this novel if you enjoy: mental health awareness; soft poetry; quick read; language oriented books