7 October 2011

Say Not What If by Andrew Friedman

When Andrew Friedman approached me to review his book, 'Say Not What If', I was immediately interested. His little story of 51 pages, is written as one long rhyming poem. That seemed to me a daunting task and I was curious to see if he could really have pulled it off.


Character Development          3

Editing                                    5

Sex                                          0

Violence                                  1

Romance                                 0

Readability/Flow                    5

Let's start with a bit about the story. (The plan was to write this part in rhyme out of deference to the book but I'm not that good) The book is narrated by a man who spent the majority of his life as a workaholic. He lost his family to his job and then his life really spiralled out of control! It only takes till the second page to find out he is now on death row and will be executed in the morning. The poem goes on to explain what happened to bring him to this point.

All right; the big question: Did Andrew Friedman pull it off? I'm going to give that a qualified yes.

Yes: The poetry is consistent. It rhymes and has good rhythm and flow and it tells the story. The story is fairly complex and I only got lost once. I misread a stanza and ended up with the wrong name for one of the characters which messed me up for a second. But a quick flip back solved my problem. This is nothing that I haven't had to do with conventional books so I don't count it as a negative.

Qualified: I didn't think the reason for the crime was dealt with well or completely explained. The motivation seemed contrived. The story itself was powerful and touched me. I was surprised at how completely I was drawn in. The style of poetry, though, contrasted in style to the solemnity of the story. The rhyme and the metre gave me a feeling of lightness while the subject matter was quite dark.  This may not be a negative, however, as it gives the book a greater range of appeal. Readers who are not poetry aficionados will still find the story accessible and readable.

If you are looking for a quick read and an unconventional set up you could do a lot worse than 'Say Not What If'.

A Taste (pg 7):

But even then with that at hand
I still did not understand
I was blind and did not see
The harm I caused, the misery.


  1. Poetry..yes no. Of course I like it, a few at a time, but when mixed with a book not so much

  2. What a brave thing to do. Kudos for Mr. Friedman. Not really my thing but I am impressed at the thought of it.


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