BOOK REVIEWS

REVIEW: CAPABLE MONSTERS – MARLIN M. JENKINS (BULL CITY PRESS)

I was born
with bad blood and the makings
of napped hair and crackled skin
and all the things the doctor
makes me list: the family
history of depression and addiction
and cancer – and maybe there are
some patterns we can’t break.

– from “Pokedex Entry #1: Bulbasaur”

I know not one thing about Pokemon. I’d be lying if I said I’d even ever watched an episode, held a card in my hand, or frankly not laughed at students who played during their lunchtime in my classroom. What I’ve learned from Capable Monsters, is that the power of Pokemon is real – and protective. What I’ve learned is that sometimes you need to crawl within your shell to gain the power to face the rest of the world, and sometimes you need a Mewtwo to get you there.

Marlen M. Jenkins may use their Pokedex to get them through the good and the bad, but behind the mask of Pokemen (Maybe that’s the plural?) there is a real person with first hand knowledge of second hand clothing picked from a black garbage bag. A person who was born human – an already dangerous species – and wants to be so thankful for that. Because “In every heroes journey / the antagonist is what the hero could become.”

While I can’t say that I’ll be racing out to buy a Pokedex anytime soon, I do know that there is power in becoming a character. I do know there is force behind the player of the game. I do know that sometimes it’s not a game at all. Sometimes, it’s just life.


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