Cynthia Pelayo is is an International Latino Book Award winning author and an Elgin Award nominee. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, a Master of Science in Marketing, a Master of Fine Arts in Writing, and is a Psychology Doctoral candidate. You can follow Cynthia on Twitter.
Her family brought her work to my attention, and I thank them for sending me her book.
Into the Forest is not the typical book reviewed here as it is poetry. It presented a new challenge.
The book centers on missing and murdered children and women. One hundred and six poems telling stories about female victims who vanished or were found murdered.
As Pelayo correctly points out “Hispanic, Black, Asian, and particularly Native American women go missing at much higher rates than the general population.” She is also correct when she writes in her preface that someone knows something.
In every case, someone knows something. So, where she had the information, she posted the victim’s full name, race, the date they vanished or were found murdered, and contact information about the investigating agency.
Two Poems, three victims
I wish to highlight two poems here. The first poem tells the story of Alexia Anne Reale‘s murder. These are the last lines of the poem:
“Not until a teacher found chemical burns on my skin that I
could finally tell the story of the little sister I had and the
demons who threw her away and told me never to tell.”
From the Charley Project we know that “Larry and Barbara [mother and stepfather] were convicted of Alexia’s murder and additional child abuse charges in 2000. Larry is currently serving a 40-year-to-life prison sentence, while Barbara is serving 15 years to life. Alexia’s remains have never been located.”
The other poem I wish to highlight was inspired by the Delphi case. The murders of Abigail Williams and Liberty German are still unsolved. Again, here are the last lines of the Pelayo’s poem:
“Things happened there, wrists wrapped, and only
each other’s eyes to look into before we knew we
were never going back.”
The book by Pelayo needs a format editor. At the end of many pages, poems are cut off, the last line appears alone on a page, the paragraph with case and contact information is broken up, and the poem’s lines do not seem to fit the page’s width.
Other than that, I enjoyed reading about unsolved cases in a different format.
I received a copy of this book from the author’s family in exchange for an honest review. All my other book reviews can be found here.