Loose Moose Publishing (2016)
Reviewed by Carol Hoyer for Reader Views (1/17)
“The Other F Word: Forgiveness” by J.R. Yussuf is a book that everyone should keep handy and read over and over. It is not a book one should rush through, but read one piece every day, mull it over, make notes and write answers for each, “How Will You Heal?” segment at the end of the stories.
In an interview Yussuf gave, the author asks, “How many of us let experiences from the past have an impact on us today?” That statement really will get readers thinking, “Why are we so angry? Why can’t we let go?” Yussuf’s book is a book of growth.
Each of the stories and poems are every day issues that one may have addressed at one time or another. They include loss of relationships, substance abuse, jealousy, revenge, and guilt. He also addresses being gay and accepting one’s self, even if others do not. We don’t have control over other’s thoughts or behaviors, but we do have control over our own.
In “Day 1: I’m Doing Just Fine,” readers find L.R. writing a letter to Shawn. L.R. addresses all the resentment he has over his dad not being in his life and how well he is doing without him. Yet, at the same time he states, “I’m letting go of all this psycho-babble bullshit,” to be the man he needs to be. Sometimes one must get the feelings out in order to move on.
In “Day 3: Hues of Humanity,” we find Peter who is in the hospital after being beaten and raped with police batons. Even though the nurses and doctors called his parents, they would not come to see him or listen to anything the medical staff said. Peter is a black, feminine, queer, and is very proud of who he is. Sadly, Peter did not make it due to his extensive injuries.
"The Other F Word: Forgiveness" by J.R. Yussuf is exceptional in that it is very well written, conveys passion, and gives readers food for thought, and a chance to grow. This is a book I for one, will keep in my library, and read over and over.