Book Review · Nonfiction · OnlineBookClub · Poetry

Life Expressed in 25 Words or Less by Jack Cantwell


Genre: Nonfiction/Poetry
Number of Pages: 111
Publication Date: April 26, 2016
Rating: 5-star-review
To Purchase the Book, Click: Life Expressed in 25 Words or Less on OBC Bookshelves


In this Haiku-inspired piece, author Jack Cantwell gives his readers snapshots of his life. He uses a few pictures to introduce sections of his poetry while leaving a fuller explanation of some instances later on in the book.

The book is split into three parts: “The Japan and Southeast Years”; “Other Places, Other Year, Humor, Faith, and Other Thoughts”; and “The Backstories”. Each part encompasses moments of happiness, sadness, and most importantly moments of reflection. Subjects include his time in Tokyo, his love for the Boston Red Sox, family, pets, and other events that were memorable for him.

The author encourages readers to take each poem and reflect to see if a relevant memory of their own comes to mind.

my-thoughtsAt first, I wasn’t sure what to expect when picking up this short read. However, within the first couple of poems, I was hooked. Poetry can be confusing sometimes, so I tend to stir clear of it. However, Mr. Cantwell has done something special in his poetry that makes reading them simple and enjoyable. As he has stated, there were several moments when I was able to relate to his sentiments and reflections to my own life.

I will share some quotes that I feel are relatable to me and/or I have thought the same thing:

Traveling in the same direction.
Living in different worlds.” (Pg. 4)

The author relates to his time in Tokyo with the quote above. At the same time, as I travel with my husband, this thought has come across my mind countless times. When I think about how differently everyone lives even when traveling in the same direction, I am left with a sense of awe.

“The waggy-tailed dog
feels the joy
with perpetual lickamotion.” (Pg. 6)

This quote reminds me of our dog, Zoey. It made me smile and laugh because it so very true!

“Going to church
Looking for God
And surprise,
Finding myself.” (Pg. 17)

What a beautiful statement and thought to share with everyone. Sometimes, all it takes is a little belief, and we find ourselves more quickly.

“Boston will always be strong.” (Pg. 31)

Living in Massachusetts for a while, especially during the tragic event of the Boston Marathon, really brought some of those memories back. This is an event that will never be forgotten and I appreciate the author including it as one of his poems.

The last bit of the book where the author shares a bit more of some snapshots of his life complemented the poems very well. Topics include Toyko, as a deployed soldier, growing up in Brooklyn, Red Sox fanatic, devotion and love to Princess (a cockapoo dog), and others. I absolutely loved his thoughts about Princess, and found this particular piece one of my favorites.

At the point of when I was reading the last bit, I had forgotten a specific poem that the author references in the “Backstories” section. Therefore, the only suggestion I have for this book is to perhaps include the experiences right after each corresponding poem rather than all of them at the end. Other than that, it was a great and enjoyable read!

Yes, I would. To those who enjoy to read simple, yet meaningful and relatable poems. Also, to those who are not sure they enjoy nonfiction due to the brevity and accessibility of this text.

I received this eBook from OnlineBookClub in exchange for an honest review.

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