The book “The Immigrant’s Lament” by Mois Benarroch is a collection of poems written by a Jewish poet and tells several stories about his life. As the title would indicate, these poems are all fairly depressing, but still very good. The topics are mostly about family, and the struggle the author faces to find his passion in life while at the same time providing for his family. He speaks often of feeling dissatisfied, but also not wanting to leave. This allows a view into the troubled mind that doesn’t always get portrayed honestly.
The style of the poems allows the reader to feel as though they are having a conversation with the author more-so than reading their thoughts and feelings. This connectivity can be a bit unnerving in the darker poems, but without it, the poems would not be nearly as impactful. The style would also lend itself well to being read aloud, though I think it would be difficult to manifest the correct emotional tone to portray what the author intended.
The target audience is certainly adults, as the content is very heavy and sometimes not too child-friendly. The poems seem to speak to non-immigrants as a way to show them the struggles immigrants go through, and how troubled they can feel. They can also speak to other immigrants as a way to show them that they are not alone and that there are others who feel as they do.
As this was a book of poems, it lacked punctuation and this sometimes made it a bit difficult to read. However, the style of poetry allows some forgiveness of this. There were some issues not related to punctuation though. The first of which occurs in the poem “Good Being Alone” on page 45, there is a g missing from the word song in the fourth line from the bottom. The other two occur in the poem “Self Portrait of the Poet in the Family Mirror”. ‘A lot’ is exchanged for ‘allot’ in the second line of the first section on page 81. Later, on page 84, ‘once’ is spelled ‘ounce’ in the second line of the second stanza.
Overall, this book is 3 out of 4 stars for me. While the punctuation made it a bit difficult to understand at times, you will get that with whatever poetry you read. This is an easy read and a real page-turner, but it can be pretty depressing. It can easily be read in one sitting.