Book Review – The Side Effects of L

The Side Effects of L by Alex Le’Gare

Alex’s Instagram link: @alex.legare

The Amazon link

I read this book in paperback. This is an unsolicited review.

What I Loved:

Mr. Le’Gare isn’t just another “Insta-poet”. Inside, we’ve got 180 pages of powerful, deep, meaningful poetry filled with grit and heart. The pages are a fairly even mixture of micro-poetry, free-verse poetry, and postmodern black-and-white photography. It’s all atmosphere and mood. I really liked the varying styles in which they were presented. The micro-poetry, untitled, written on a black background, and al perfect-for-the-scene font.

I loved the introduction which describes the meaning of the title and what “L” truly means. Carefully breaking it down in a method which I adore. (I am constrained from giving any more spoilers regarding it.)

He has not only some outstanding poetry but his titles are memorable, for good reason. Things like “Every Skeleton Misses Its Skin”, “Hang ‘Em High”, and “Fireflies and Killing Jars”.

The book is a great size, feels great in the hand, and the simple cover stands out. The pages are a bit thin, which is par for course from the Amazon printers, which is well-known for its lower quality products.

What I Didn’t:

The font choice used on the free-verse poetry pages was probably the worst issue I had in the book. It’s not a great poetry font, as it feels too clinical and just doesn’t work with this. For many avid readers such as myself, the appearance is nearly as important as the words themselves. My other gripe would be a formatting issue, and this not from the author, as there are obvious back-coding issues which were not dealt with by the editor, which made for some annoyance while reading due to inconsistencies but not enough to do more than make minor pauses in reading. [This is a common issue with self-publishing but not something I would have expected from a small-house publisher (and never see in big-house publishing). Again, not a huge deal, but a small note.]

My Favorite Bits:

Mr. Le’Gare filled the pages with potent, powerful pieces and a few of note were “6”, “Tsunami”, and “Title Be Not”. Just super great writing that sticks with you long after you’ve put the book down.

My Overall Score:

4.5 stars

(1/4 for formatting hiccups, 1/4 for font choice which goes against the overall mood of the book)

Final Thoughts:

Alex is an underrated poet, in my opinion. He’s clearly experienced some hard knocks but he’s ALL heart and soul. I am looking forward to seeing more from him because I just can’t see him stopping this. He makes it look easy and natural, a sure sign of a great writer.

Read more book reviews by following my Review Category.

be a good writer: read.
~tara caribou

**If this review was helpful or you’ve read it and want to add to the discussion, please let me know in the comments!

I will also, as a side-note, say, it may seem that I am harsh on many writers for their editing, formatting, grammar, punctuation, etc. I do so unapologetically. One, because this is a review, not a popularity contest. Two, because honest criticism should help us grow as artists.

The fact of the matter is, these things MATTER. A mathematician must use his tools and use them correctly to be an effective mathematician. A surgeon cannot simply say, “I know I can’t sew the wound closed but at least I could remove the appendix or whatever it’s called.” Same with writers. We can’t claim to be writers but refuse to use proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation. We can’t claim to be a photographer just because we know how to push the button on the camera (or phone). There’s an art to it.

So while I may appreciate the artist as a person and their words, I believe that it does us all a disservice to say lower quality editing is okay. Believe in yourself! Believe in the power of your words! Put the effort into being the very best you can be. Ask for help. Grow and learn.

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