Kimberly Verhines' The Blue Hour Before Sunrise is a brave work of literary nonfiction. Unflinchingly, Verhines explores the events that lead to the loss of her 19-year-old son and the harrowing territories of grief and hard-won resolution that follow in the long aftermath of his death. Few answers exist to explain the facts of his dependence on illegal steroids, how such dependence skewed his image of self and self-worth, or how he determined suicide was an appropriate choice, to end his own pain and, perhaps he thought, the pain he brought those who loved him. Verhines confronts the facts, fearfully but imperatively needful. Doubtless, the subject matter of The Blue Hour Before Sunrise is difficult. A mother's journey after a child's dying is wrought with agony, anxiety, and a pervading loneliness too populated by psychological ghosts. Maintaining the delicate balance between courage and collapse, Verhines tackles her and her son's story in terms that are poignant and indispensible, marked by a beauty comprised of the most remarkable of lyrical prose. Verhines is not just an accomplished prose writer?she is innately a poet of the finest timbre. Her power of observation?fresh and startling, the haunting skill of her language, and her unforgiving push against sentimentalism cause The Blue Hour Before Sunrise to be a work readers will not leave. The effect of her ability is at once arresting and heartbreaking as she compels us through the darkness and the horrific universality of sorrow, much the way Dante leads us through his abyss. On the other side, though, we resurrect into the thin light that can only be hope, only be a promise of life renewed.
Genre: Literary Collections, Biography + Autobiography, Family + Relationships
Subgenre: Personal Memoirs, Death + Grief + Bereavement, Essays