TMW Book Reviews

Of Age and Edges


Odessa Cleveland

Of Age and Edges by Odessa Cleveland is an earnest and thought-provoking journey through life’s complexities, expressing the essence of aging, family, and the human experience. Cleveland’s style is both lyrical and evocative, painting vivid images with her words, making readers feel as if they are part of the poetic thoughts and emotions of the story.

The book is a collection of interconnected vignettes, each one showing the lives of various characters at different stages of their journeys. And remarkably, Cleveland creates genuine characters—allowing her readers to become emotionally invested in each story’s joys, pains, and struggles.

One line from the book is, “Worry makes a three-beat gait; races toward a finish line with an upbeat heart rate.” This shows the essence of anxiety and worry that plagues many of the characters throughout the book. Cleveland’s metaphors and imagery create a deep emotional connection with her readers. “Choices change like red, green, or amber. Decisions kick up. Did you vote? Yes? No? Shadows lurk with questions,” are very timely. Individuals have a role in influencing the direction of their communities through their choices and actions. In today’s society, where civic engagement and participation are crucial, this encourages readers to be mindful of their responsibilities and actively contribute to positive change. Cleveland explores themes of resilience—her characters face adversities and challenges, but they also find strength and hope within themselves. So no matter our age or circumstances, we have the capacity to grow, change, and find meaning in our lives.

The book is a hybrid work—prose passages that tell interconnected stories and uses poetic elements effectively. This combination gives Cleveland’s book a distinctive and artistic quality, making her verse and voice different from some traditional genres. It’s filled with words lingering for thought upon the reader’s mind. Lines such as “Live at perfect numbers,” and “Hug, laugh, pat, kiss in celebration for an energy enhancing more human needs. Not less,” are like nuggets of wisdom encouraging introspection and a deeper appreciation for life.

The author has crafted a work that conveys many of life’s lessons subtly. Through the characters’ experiences, we learn about the importance of love, forgiveness, and the enduring human spirit. A book choice for those seeking the profound aspects of life’s trials, presented through skillful language. Odessa Cleveland’s writing reminds us that irrespective of age, opportunities for personal development, comprehension, and human bonds persist within life’s intricate fabric.

– The Moving Words Review

Official Entry: The Most Moving Book Award, Jan. 3, 2024

Book Trailer