Review: The Companion by E.E. Ottoman

This review is going to be a little different than my usual ones. Partially because I can’t quite find all the words I need to describe how this book makes me feel and partially because I don’t even know if I could explain it if I had the words.

Occasionally, I bemoan the simplicity of the way English talks about love and the words it uses. Because if I say in English, I love this book, that both catches the meaning and doesn’t at all. Because I also love fried chicken and chocolate and my family and many many other things. But the love is always different and there’s no way to really encapsulate that in a single word in English. Instead, I’m stuck with run on sentences and a sense of being totally unable even with every word I have to be able to explain how this book makes me feel.

So when I write this review, know that I am doing the best within the limits of the language and that to truly understand anything, you are just going to have to read this book. You may have a totally different experience but at least I won’t be alone in this tongue tied wonder.

I dreaded opening this book, because I needed it be good.

I was so afraid it wouldn’t be. Even knowing the author was trusted by people whose opinions I trust. Even knowing that things have changed so much in how we talk about trans folks and gender identity. I was afraid.

I have this problem with books and representation. I’ve been thwarted and disappointed so many times that sometimes, books that sound like they will sing to my soul are left by the wayside until I feel strong enough to read them.

And then of course I started a blog reviewing books with diverse representation and became occasionally my own worst enemy on this whole thing.

Because somehow, it burns even harder when you’ve let yourself hope. When you think, maybe it will be different. Maybe this will be fantastic. The height you fall from definitely impacts how hard you hit.

But then…when it works. When your hopes are validated. When everything becomes clear and gorgeous and bright as a morning where the sun burns off the clouds and seems to beg you to come outside and play.

I often say that some books are so good they make me want to write poetry to them.

This is the first book in a while that actually made me try to write a poem about them. It was awful, so I won’t share it. But that’s the only way I can explain this to you. Prose just doesn’t cut it.

If you are looking for a book about what it feels like to be alone in the world and then to come to a safe place where people are kind to you and care about you and are also like you, this book may be perfect.

If you have been feeling the world has been knocking you around and you need a space to rest and feel that everything may be all right in the end, this book may be just right.

If everything’s just too much, come and lay down and read this book. Hopefully, you’ll feel something like I did. A sense of gentle, soft comfort and safety.

This book is a gift and I cannot lie that I feel utterly unworthy of it and yet, I will not let it go without a fight.

Until next time,

Not Just a Buzzword

*I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review and I doubt they expected me to write poetry but shows what they know about me.

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